Responding to Gordon Brown’s speech on nuclear weapons, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament expressed its regret the opportunity to set out a positive agenda ahead of two key international nuclear conferences had been missed. CND described it as “a disappointing rowing back from the momentum that previous policy shifts had started to build” with no further announcements on cuts to warheads, submarines or on policies surrounding the potential use of nuclear weapons.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “Gordon Brown’s speech is a real disappointment. Previously we’ve seen Brown discuss cutting back the Trident submarine fleet and suggesting further initiatives were in the pipeline, yet today’s comments seem to reflect a `business as usual’ mindset which can only be seen as a disappointing rowing back from the momentum that previous policy shifts had started to build. Brown puts the argument that despite the lack of current threats, Trident must be replaced to guard against future uncertainty. But this is the mindset that serves to promote nuclear proliferation and makes the future we are all trying to avoid more likely, not less. Progress on disarmament, be that unilateral or multilateral requires existing nuclear armed states to build positive momentum – this speech totally fails in this regard.

She continued, “The looming election should not be a cause of timidity in this area. Polls consistently show that scrapping the ruinously expensive replacement of Trident would be one cut-back welcomed by a large majority of the public. The major review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty opens in the first week of May. Britain committed to disarm by signing it 42 years ago. Now we need Brown to show real global leadership by driving forward concrete disarmament proposals both at home and internationally. A few short weeks remain for the UK’s negotiating position to be established. Sadly, we know that attempts to maintain the status quo, with nothing more than the weak rhetoric that we saw today are doomed to consign the world to a less-secure, more nuclearised future. The world deserves better than that – Brown had looked set to deliver at least some progress. We hope in these final few weeks he does.”