The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today (20 Sept 2010) welcomed the decision of the Liberal Democrat conference to prioritise discussion of an emergency motion on Trident, saying it "shows the real distaste most Lib Dems feel at vast spending on Trident when almost every other area is facing severe cuts". The issue had previously been excluded from discussion by the Conference Committee on the grounds that it had been discussed recently.
The Emergency Motion (which seeks to ensure that the Strategic Defence and Security Review considers cost-saving options such as ending continuous at-sea patrols and extending the life of Vanguard submarines ), is due to be proposed at 9am on Wednesday 22 Sept by Julian Huppert, the newly elected MP for Cambridge, together with Tessa Munt, MP for Wells - both of whom are members of Parliamentary CND and who spoke at a packed anti-Trident fringe meeting on Saturday night hosted by the Lib Dem Peace and Security Group and the Lib Dem Scrap Trident group, together with CND.
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "The prioritisation of the Trident motion shows the real distaste most Lib Dems feel at vast spending on Trident when almost every other area of public spending is facing severe cuts. Significant numbers of Lib Dem members and voters were won over to the party exactly because of distinctive policies on issues like nuclear weapons - stances that cannot be glossed over now the party is in government. We strongly hope the conference will follow through on its decision to prioritise this issue by passing this motion, and that Lib Dem ministers demand the full consideration of Trident through its inclusion in the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
"Polling shows 57 per cent of Lib Dem members reject Britain's retention of nuclear weapons altogether and only seven per cent support the 'like for like' replacement planned by the Defence Secretary. The grassroots are clear in their opposition to Trident and even Nick Clegg has spoken of the difficulty of justifying the huge cost to those who are having their benefits cut. We strongly hope the leadership will back the view of their members and support this motion. The billions of pounds at stake, and the cuts that spending them on Trident would cause, make this a very serious issue, not just for defining the Lib Dems' role in government but for every person who relies on public services in the country at large."