Nearly 1000 candidates from parties large and small, and of no party at all, have written in to confirm that, if elected, they would vote against any replacement of Trident in the House of Commons. Some seats have now become ‘Trident marginals’.
Whilst parties including the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and Respect express total opposition to nuclear weapons, the Liberal Democrats have consistently argued that they do not want a ‘like-for-like’ replacement for Trident and want to include Trident in the post-election Strategic Defence Review. But Labour and the Conservatives continue to say that they will replace Trident and will exclude it from the review.
However, a more detailed look at local contests and individual responses shows opposition to Trident replacement to be more widespread than the manifestos suggest. Not only are many smaller parties and independent candidates opposed, but 130 Labour Party candidates have said they would vote against Trident replacement, leaving many seats where the majority of candidates are opposed.
In some ‘Trident marginals’ the candidates of both parties are opposed to Trident replacement, including where the Lib Dems took seats from Labour in 2005 such as Bristol West, Leeds North West and Manchester Withington and some Labour-held seats where the Lib Dems are challenging, including Edinburgh South, Hampstead and Kilburn and Islington South and Finsbury. In other contests where Labour candidates are in a close contest with the Greens (Brighton Pavilion), Respect (Birmingham Hall Green) and the SNP (Dundee East), the seat is an anti-nuclear competition with all candidates expressing their opposition to Trident replacement.
However some Labour candidates, who are vulnerable to the Lib Dems, have stuck with supporting Trident replacement, potentially putting them more at risk of losing their seat including Ministers Claire Ward in Watford and Phil Woolas in Oldham East and Saddleworth.
Kate Hudson, CND Chair, said:
‘Trident is a major issue in this election campaign, as millions of people reject wasteful spending on weapons of mass destruction. The old-time nuclear religion of Labour and Tories is breaking down as common sense comes to the fore. 130 Labour candidates have had the courage and good sense to break with Cold War dogma and put the interests of ordinary people first. I hope that voters will consider their candidates’ views on Trident before they cast their ballot tomorrow. After all, our future security is at stake – the only safe world is a world without nuclear weapons.’
For further information and interviews please contact the CND press phone, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
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.