We invited every candidate standing in the 2019 general election to tell us their views about nuclear weapons. Hundreds replied and we recorded their responses on our #VoteOutNukes database.
But what do the political parties have to say about CND’s other campaigns?
In this review we explore the manifestos of the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the SNP. We look specifically at what they have to say about war, NATO and nuclear power, then we end with a summary of their positions on Trident, global abolition and the nuclear ban treaty.
CND’s position We have consistently backed solutions to conflict and complex problems based on dialogue and justice and we work towards the prevention and cessation of wars in which the nuclear weapons of Britain or other countries might be used. It’s essential that steps are taken to prevent the rush to war.
To this end, we welcome aspects of the following manifesto pledges:
Labour will “Introduce a War Powers Act to ensure that no prime minister can bypass Parliament to commit to conventional military action … we will implement every single recommendation of the Chilcot Inquiry.”
Lib Dems will “Legislate to ensure there is a parliamentary vote before engaging in military action, while preserving the ability to engage in action in emergencies or under treaty obligation without requiring parliamentary approval.”
Plaid Cymru “believes that, with the exception of binding international treaties, the decision to go to war should require the support of all four nations and we demand that a vote is held in the Senedd prior to any UK-supported military intervention in foreign affairs. The people of Wales have a democratic right to support or oppose such incursions.”
CND’s position NATO is a nuclear-armed military alliance that was established in 1949 during the early years of the Cold War and has since become an ever-expanding interventionist bloc, operating on a global scale.
If we are to rid the world of nuclear weapons and bring an end to permanent war, we must dismantle the apparatus of war. That has to mean disbanding NATO and developing a foreign policy that upholds common security based on peace, justice and respect for all nations.
We celebrate the long-standing opposition to NATO by the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.
We’re disappointed to see other parties’ continued support for NATO.
Conservatives “[W]e will bolster the alliances and institutions that help protect our influence and keep up safe: the UN and the UN Security Council; NATO …”
Labour “ will increase funding for UN peacekeeping operations … We will maintain our commitment to NATO”
Lib Dems will defend “international cooperation against the rising tides of nationalism and isolationism, supporting multilateral organisations like the UN and NATO which are increasingly under threat.”
The SNP doesn’t mention NATO in its manifesto, but sadly it ditched its anti-NATO stance in 2012.
CND’s position We call for an end to the production of nuclear energy – a technology that is dirty, dangerous and economically unsustainable. Nuclear power burdens future generations with a potential human and environmental disaster that is not compensated for by the expensive electricity produced.
We therefore welcome these commitments:
Greens “With our renewable energy supply unlocked, we can hugely reduce fossil fuel use in our energy system, and with it our reliance on nuclear power.
Plaid Cymru “Oppose the development of new sites for nuclear power stations.”
The SNP “We are committed to opposing new nuclear power plants and prioritising investment on cleaner, cheaper forms of electricity generation, including reform of the UK support for renewables.”
We were disappointed to see support for nuclear power in the following manifestos.
Conservatives “We will support gas for hydrogen production and nuclear energy, including fusion, as important parts of the energy system, alongside increasing our commitment to renewables.”
Labour “We will build: […] new nuclear power needed for energy security.”
Lib Dems The Lib Dem manifesto doesn’t mention nuclear power, but they have a record of supporting it.
CND’s position The government is replacing its current nuclear weapons system, Trident, at a cost of at least £205 billion. The replacement of this dangerous weapon of mass destruction should be cancelled. The money should be spent on jobs, homes, education and health; improving the lives of the British people without threatening the lives of others.
Conservatives “We will maintain our Trident nuclear deterrent, which guarantees our security.”
Greens support “Cancelling the Trident nuclear weapons system and nuclear powered submarines.”
Labour “Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent”.
Lib Dems “Maintain a minimum nuclear deterrent […] continuing with the Dreadnought programme, the submarine-based replacement for Vanguard, but procuring three boats and moving to a medium-readiness responsive posture and maintaining the deterrent through measures such as unpredictable and irregular patrolling patterns.”
Plaid Cymru “Both the Tories and Labour want to spend billions on the renewal of an ineffective and unnecessary nuclear weapons system. Plaid Cymru are determined to prevent the renewal of a weapon of mass destruction and to scrap Trident. We will resist all attempts to relocate nuclear weapons in Wales or in Welsh Waters.”
The SNP “The SNP has never and will never support the retention or renewal of Trident. We believe that nuclear weapons are immoral, ineffective and expensive.”
Global Abolition and the nuclear ban treaty
CND’s position From its founding meeting, CND has championed the global abolition of nuclear weapons. the British government should sign The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and work towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons.
Only the Green Party manifesto comes out in support of the nuclear ban treaty.
Greens “We will join the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and work within the multilateral framework … for the total elimination of all nuclear weapons, including the implementation, enforcement and verification of all disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation agreements.”
All other parties talk about the need to work multilaterally towards global abolition, apart from the Conservative Party.
Labour “will also actively lead multilateral efforts under our obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to create a nuclear-free world.”
Lib Dems will pursue “multilateral nuclear disarmament”.
Plaid Cymru doesn’t mention global abolition, but it contributes to it with the scrap Trident policy.
The SNP “We want to see a world free from nuclear weapons, and with independence, Scotland can be an advocate for disarmament on the global stage.”
If you value the work we do
we can build a more peaceful world
free from the threat of nuclear war.