British Pugwash is troubled to note the UK Government’s decisions, announced in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, to increase the UK’s stockpile of nuclear warheads and no longer to reveal the number of these weapons that will be kept operational. Both these moves are retrograde.
The change from the previous policy of gradually reducing UK reliance on these horrific armaments flies in the face of earlier assurances that the Government was trying to promote the conditions for a nuclear-weapon-free world. They also cast doubt on the sincerity of the (welcome) claim in the Review that the Government is “strongly committed to full implementation of the NPT in all its aspects, including nuclear disarmament”.
The associated decision to no longer publish key data will reduce transparency and further undermine trust. A world free of nuclear threats is a primary concern of many countries the Government now wishes “Global Britain” to trade with. The recent adherence of many states to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons shows the priority this issue has internationally.
Meanwhile the enormous expense of maintaining a so-called “independent” nuclear deterrent means that the UK’s conventional forces continue to degrade from lack of funding.
Arms Control Association statement
British Pugwash endorses the analysis presented in the Arms Control Association in its article titled ‘The UK’s Nuclear U-Turn’ – which can be read here