The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has today said that he wants to “make the world safer” through new global agreements on nuclear weapons. But his critics have been quick to accuse him of inconsistency by pushing ahead with the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Brown described the Non-Proliferation Treaty renewal conference, due in the new year, as an opportunity for a “renewed global bargain”.
His plans include assistance in civil power to states such as Iran in return for not developing nuclear weapons.
However, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said that as Brown’s plans involved no reduction in the UK’s own nuclear arsenal, they would “not be seen as credible by non-nuclear states”.
The Prime Minister attracted particular criticism for speaking of his desire to “reinvigorate the bargain at the heart of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”.
CND’s chair, Kate Hudson said that the bargain was based on the “grand deal that others won't seek nuclear weapons if the original nuclear powers disarm. Britain can take the lead in all these areas by scrapping Trident replacement.”
The cost of renewing Trident has been estimated at £20 billion by the government and £76 billion by CND.
In recent weeks, the government has come under increasing pressure over the renewal plan, following an agreement on nuclear arms reduction by the USA and Russia.
This week, a poll revealed that for the first time, the majority of British voters want to scrap the UK’s nuclear weapons.
“It is a nonsense for the Government to say there is no current nuclear threat to Britain and then commit to having a Cold War-style weapons system until the 2050s” said Hudson.
“Britain can't expect those without these weapons to make all the concessions - we have to take action to make progress” she added.