1 December 2006: for immediate release
On Monday 4th December at 12 noon, CND Chair Kate Hudson will be joined by Jon Trickett MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Linda Riordan MP and Michael Meacher MP at Downing Street to hand in CND’s Alternative White Paper on Trident replacement (see note 2). The hand in will be followed by a photo call at 12:10 pm. An additional photo opportunity is available with the Theatre of War group, which will perform a brief tableau with a 15-foot replica Trident missile outside the Downing Street gates.
The hand in comes on the same day as the government White Paper on Trident replacement is scheduled to be published. MPs and others have expressed great concern at the lack of genuine consultation and the rushed decision-making process.
Jon Trickett, Labour MP for Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, said, ‘There should not be a pre-determined outcome on a decision of this magnitude. There is more than one alternative to Trident replacement and there should be a full debate on each one.’
Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said, ‘I very much fear that Blair’s consultation will be in the form of pre-ticked “Yes” and “No” boxes. That would be Iraq Part Two, and many MPs are not prepared to make the same mistake. The public and parliament need a genuine consultation on all the issues including threat assessment, cost, international obligations and all options on offer including non-replacement. We need plenty of time to carefully consider these issues, not a mere three months to rush us into a endorsing a decision already made as demonstrated by the huge financial and human investment, which have been poured into AWE.’
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, said, ‘There is overwhelmingly opposition within the Labour Party and wider trade union movement – as shown by the vote at TUC Congress – and this is such a serious issue that it should be put for democratic decision at Labour Party conference.’
Key points highlighted in the Alternative White Paper include:
· The inability of nuclear weapons to meet today’s major security threat, terrorism
· The absence of current nuclear superpower threats
· The promotion of nuclear proliferation: ‘The more that those states that already have [nuclear weapons] increase their arsenals, or insist that such weapons are essential to their national security, the more other states feel that they too must have them for their security’
· Britain’s treaty obligation under the NPT to accomplish the total elimination of its nuclear arsenal
· The cost of Trident replacement: up to £76 billion would adversely affect public spending on health care and other important issues
Notes to Editor:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. An ICM poll from June 2006 showed that 81% of the British public believes that any decision on Trident replacement should be made by Parliament, not the Prime Minister alone. Click here for a full copy of the poll.
3. According to a July 2006 ICM poll, 59% of the British public opposes a replacement of Trident when presented with a cost of at least £25 billion. Click here for a full copy of the poll.
4. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.