MPs angry that decision on Trident renewal will be made during summer recess

July 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm 1 comment

by Amy Bourke

MPs warned today that Trident nuclear weapons should not be replaced over the House of Commons summer holiday.

Dr Gavin Strang (Lab, Edinburgh East) criticised his own Government for stifling debate about the replacement of Trident, along with the criticised the Bush administration for its “de-construction” of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He said: “There is real concern—certainly among Labour Members—about the September decision [to replace Trident].

“I do not quite see why it has to be made in September and I would like to think that there could be some movement on this point.”

The House rises for the summer recess on July 21st and returns on October 12th.

Mr Strang said:

“We know that the Trident replacement bid is a big issue that will not go away—far from it, as it seems to be getting more and more prominent for a range of reasons. My view… is that Trident should have been cancelled many years ago.”

The speech made by Dr Strang during a Commons debate yesterday came at a vital point in the international negotiations surrounding nuclear weaponry.

Iran and North Korea are NPT signatories, but Iran has breached its obligations, and North Korea has gone as far as testing nuclear weapons.

India, Israel and Pakistan have all acquired nuclear weapons since the treaty came into force, with major implications for security in their regions. All three refuse to join the NPT.

Lastly, the NPT nuclear weapons states (the UK, the US, France, China and Russia) still hold massive nuclear arsenals, despite pledging disarmament when the treaty was first signed in 1970.

However, Dr Strang praised America’s position on nuclear armaments, saying: “President Obama provides us with the best hope we have had for years in the area of non-proliferation.”

President Obama has declared that he wants to work towards a world without nuclear weapons, to pursue the US ratification of the vital comprehensive test ban treaty and to support a verified fissile material cut-off treaty (this would stop production of plutonium and uranium, which can be used to make missiles.)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that there is no authoritative estimate of the total number of nuclear weapons worldwide.


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