15 January 2007: for immediate release

As the Defence Select Committee begins its inquiry into the government’s White Paper on Trident replacement, a new opinion poll shows the vast majority of the British public supports a convention banning all nuclear weapons.

A poll conducted by YouGov last week shows that 64% of the British public believe that the government should support an international Convention to ban all nuclear weapons. Only 18% of respondents opposed the government supporting such a Convention (1) (2). A Convention to ban nuclear weapons has already been drafted and is currently lodged with the United Nations. Such a Convention would outlaw all nuclear weapons and would provide for full processes of inspection and verification.

The poll was taken as the Defence Select Committee prepares to take evidence for its third inquiry into the future of the UK’s nuclear weapons system, before the House of Commons debates and votes on the issue in March. On Tuesday 16th January, Bruce Kent, Vice-President of CND will give evidence to the Defence Select Committee in Portcullis House on behalf of CND.

In a written submission to the Defence Select Committee, CND criticises the government’s White Paper, calling it an ‘inadequate and pedestrian response to the enormous security challenges facing Britain and the world today.’ CND calls on the government to take positive steps to shape the future security context by:
1. Initiating a Global Summit on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
2. Supporting the draft Nuclear Weapons Convention lodged at the United Nations

In its recent Alternative White Paper on Trident Replacement (3), CND said that the most effective way for Britain to insure against future nuclear threats is to work towards nuclear disarmament, rather than pursuing a path which is certain to contribute to proliferation.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:
“A decision not to replace Trident is the best way for Britain to ensure its future security. It must be taken in tandem with government initiatives towards its stated goal of multilateral disarmament: backing a World Summit on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and working towards a Nuclear Weapons Convention banning all such weapons.”

Bruce Kent, CND Vice President, said:
“To call on the government to start negotiating the abolition of all nuclear weapons is only to call on them to fulfil their legal obligations as set out by the International Court of Justice in 1996. There are no such negotiations in progress now and it is high time that they began.”

CND, the Stop the War Coalition, and the British Muslim Initiative are organising a national demonstration on Saturday 24th February, calling for ‘No Trident’ and ‘Troops Home from Iraq.’ It is expected to be Britain’s largest anti-nuclear demonstration in decades.


Notes to Editor:

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,253 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th – 10th January 2007. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
2. Click here to download a copy of CND’s Alternative White Paper, which was handed in to the Prime Minister on 4 December 2006
3. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.