Churches to hold vigil as House of Commons votes on Trident replacement

By staff writers
March 12, 2007
Trident Submarine

An all-faiths vigil is to be held outside Parliament as the House of Commons votes on the Government's plans to replace Trident.

The vigil is being held to protest against the governments plans and follows widespread opposition from churches to the government's proposals.

The vigil is being supported by a range of peace groups including the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship; Christian CND, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi and Quaker Peace and Social Witness.

Participants are being urged to bring banners and placards.

Opposition to the government's plans has come from the catholic church in Scotland, which was backed by the Vatican. It has also come from other mainline Christian denominations.

Following the publication of the government's White Paper on the subject, leaders from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church joined the calls for the Government to give a clear statement on its plans for nuclear non-proliferation.

The three Churches made a joint submission to the Committee, arguing that the Government's White Paper provided no serious analysis of the security risks associated with a renewal of Trident. They state that it is vital to control the proliferation of weapons technology and they raised concerns over the Government’s claim that Trident might provide protection against state-sponsored nuclear terrorism.

The submission also drew attention to the status of Britain’s commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The vigil on Wednesday will be followed by a rally organised by CND in Parliament Square.

David Gee, of Quaker Peace and Social Witness, who will be attending the vigul said it was important for all those who wish to see an end to nuclear weapons to act now.

"The government's decision will either confirm the UK as a nuclear weapon state into the 2050s or make history by contributing more to global nuclear disarmament than any nation has in decades."

He added: "MPs have had only one week to read and digest the Defence Committee's very dense report, before the vote.

"At the very least we ask that this important decision be delayed, even for a few months, to allow for a deeper analysis of the issues and a wider public debate."

The vigil outside parliament is part of ongoing action by faith communities and peace groups, to ensure that the issue is subject to full and open public debate, and that the arguments in favour of disarmament and non-proliferation are heard loud and clear.

The vigil will take place in Parliament Square opposite Westminster Abbey from 5pm -6pm this Wednesday 14th March.

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