Nearly 1,000 candidates in today's general election have pledged to oppose the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said that some seats have become “Trident marginals”, in which a closely fought contest involves candidates with different views on the issue.
Whilst parties including the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and Respect express total opposition to nuclear weapons, the Liberal Democrats have consistently argued that they do not want a 'like-for-like' replacement for Trident and want to include Trident in the post-election Strategic Defence Review.
Labour and the Conservatives continue to say that they will replace Trident and will exclude it from the review.
But this is not the same for all their members. 130 Labour candidates, and even three Tory candidates, have told CND that they oppose Trident replacement.
CND point out that this leaves a number of constituencies in which the majority of candidates are anti-Trident. They point to a number of seats in which the two leading candidates both oppose Trident. These include Edinburgh South, Islington South and Hampstead and Kilburn, all of which are Labour-held and targeted by the Liberal Democrats. Labour candidates are also opposed to Trident in seats in which they face a strong challenge from the SNP (Dundee East), the Green Party (Brighton Pavilion) and Respect (Birmingham Hall Green).
But certain Labour ministers who are vulnerable to a Liberal Democrat challenge have stuck with supporting Trident. They include Phil Woolas in Oldham East and Saddleworth and Claire Ward in Watford.
“Trident is a major issue in this election campaign, as millions of people reject wasteful spending on weapons of mass destruction,” said Kate Hudson, Chair of CND.
She added, “The old-time nuclear religion of Labour and Tories is breaking down as common sense comes to the fore”. She urged voters to “consider their candidates' views on Trident before they cast their ballot tomorrow. After all, our future security is at stake - the only safe world is a world without nuclear weapons”.