Representatives of the Atomic Weapons Establishment near Aldermaston in East Berkshire have met calls for their resignation after they visited the University of Birmingham to recruit students into the development and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.
Academic staff of the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, who are also members of the University community, denounced the nuclear weapons industry and the attempts to recruit students.
Two weeks ago the Anglican Bishop of Reading, Stephen Cottrell, welcomed trainee ministers to services of lamentation at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire, where Trident missile warheads are made for British military submarines. 30 staff and students from the Queen’s Foundation and the University of Birmingham also attended.
The return visit to the university by representatives of the Atomic Weapons Establishment was made to Staff House on Wednesday.
Following their visit, academic staff of the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education who are also members of the University community, issued a statement:
“Just over a fortnight ago a party of about 30 staff and students from the Queen’s Foundation and the University of Birmingham visited the Atomic Weapons Establishment to conduct a lamentation over the production and possible use of Britain ’s nuclear weapons of mass destruction" it said.
"Red and white poppies were fixed to the fence at the Main Gate and Tadley Gate in remembrance of those who have perished and suffered because of the deliberate or accidental effects of nuclear weapons.
"Today representatives of AWE have arranged a return visit to Birmingham" the statement continued, "not to lament the trade of death in which they are employed but to recruit young men and women into the same career where their skills and energies will be employed for destructive purposes.
"We...denounce the nuclear weapons industry in the name of our common humanity and for the sake of our shared hope. Far from seeking to attract people to join your ranks, you yourselves should offer your resignation in the interests of national prosperity and the cause of peace for all humanity. We invite you to return to the place you came from and offer your resignations."