No Trident Replacement

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2006 National Delegate Conference
3 June 2006

National Delegate Conference notes:

1)the Trident submarine nuclear weapons system was introduced into Britain in 1994 and will reach the end of its life in 2024. The system is composed of four nuclear-armed submarines, each carrying up to 48 nuclear warheads. Each warhead has an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons – eight times the power of the Hiroshima bomb;

2)Britain’s nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction, capable of killing millions of people and are tied into United States (US) military and foreign policy;

3)the United Kingdom’s continued reliance upon United States research for its nuclear weapons and the amendment to the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement in June 2004 which extended the period whereby the US government can share nuclear technology and transfer materials to the UK to 31 December 2014;

4)the new United States Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) programme, producing tactical nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield, and the corresponding modification of the existing Trident weapons system to carry a single “low-yield” nuclear warhead with the potential for “first strike” military use;”

5)the Labour Party Manifesto 2005 “we are also committed to retaining the independent nuclear deterrent” and recent reports in the press which suggest that the government has already made a decision to replace Trident with a new nuclear weapons system.

6)the report of the Defence White Paper 2003 which stated “decisions on whether to replace Trident are not needed this Parliament but are likely to be required in the next one”;

7)Britain is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has made an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of its nuclear arsenal;

8)a decision to replace Trident would run counter to our Treaty commitments, cost billions of pounds, escalate global tensions, and undermine, rather than secure, Britain’s real security.

Conference also notes the US “Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations” of March 2005 which speaks of “integrating conventional and nuclear attacks”, the report of the US Nuclear Posture Review in 2001 which outlined proposals for a new generation of nuclear weapons such as the part of an “offensive strike system” and the change in UK policy to support pre-emptive strikes even against non-nuclear weapons states.

Conference believes:

a)that given that last year marked the 60th anniversary year of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where two bombs killed approximately 250,000 people, all developments that threaten a greater risk of nuclear weapons use should be opposed;

b)with the UK willing to engage in pre-emptive nuclear strikes and the US researching and developing new nuclear weapons which it would seek to use in future conflicts, a replacement of Trident will make the use of nuclear weapons more likely in future;

c)replacing Trident will go against Britain’s commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to get rid of its nuclear weapons;

d)replacing Trident will send the wrong signals to non-nuclear countries around the world, who may be encouraged to develop their own systems;

e)replacing trident will waste billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that could better be spent on jobs, pensions education and health to improve the lives of the British people without threatening the lives of others.

Therefore Conference resolves to:

i)call on the Government not to conclude any agreements, or to engage in preparations to build a new generation of nuclear weapons, until after debate and a deciding vote held in Parliament;

ii)oppose the replacement of Trident and to call for the decommissioning of the existing Trident weapons system, offering support for the peaceful campaigns by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and other bona-fide peace organisations against Trident at Faslane, Aldermaston, Fylingdales and Plymouth Devonport.