The Methodist Church is repeating its call for the Government to not replace Trident and to take a leading role in disarmament talks under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Steve Hucklesby, Methodist Secretary for International Affairs, said: â€œA decision to replace Trident would send an adverse signal to other states. When the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty was made permanent in 1995 it was on the basis that the nuclear powers would disarm. By stating that the UK will maintain a nuclear missile system indefinitely â€˜just in caseâ€™ we are reneging on that agreement.
â€œA number of states find themselves under pressure to develop nuclear technology and signal their arrival as nuclear powers. Keeping nuclear weapons â€˜just in caseâ€™ undermines the NPT and will do untold damage to non-proliferation negotiations.â€
The 2006 Methodist Conference called on the Government not to replace Trident when it reaches the end of its working life but to take a lead in disarmament and non-proliferation negotiations. Recent press reports suggest that six states including Egypt and Saudi Arabia are considering developing nuclear power technology.
â€œThe Government acknowledges that terrorism is likely to remain a major threat to the security of our country for some time to come. By taking such a relaxed approach to non-proliferation our Government is in danger of taking its eye off the ball. The more fissile material there is around the more likely it is that it will fall into the wrong hands and be used against us. There is a better path to improving our national security. It requires vigorous support for non-proliferation supported by a decision not to renew Trident.â€
Methodists in Britain are being urged to contact their MPs ahead of the debate in the House of Commons. (This campaign is also supported by the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union of Great Britain. A joint online guide (pdf) has been made available.