I think there is now greater public understanding of the Government's policy of deterrence and multilateral disarmament; but my ministerial colleagues and I will continue to take every suitable opportunity to put the message across.
I do not believe that it is for me to think of new names for the organisation, although I appreciate my hon. Friend's constructive endeavour. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is against NATO, Great Britain's independent nuclear deterrence and having a nuclear deterrence behind our conventional forces. In that respect it is rejected by the overwhelming majority of British people.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the simplest and most cogent reason for this country retaining a nuclear deterrent was that put to me the other day in a factory by a constituent who said, "T'other beggar's got bomb. We keep bomb."?
My hon. Friend must articulate his views in his own way. The single greatest reason for maintaining our nuclear deterrence is that for 38 years we have kept the peace, and to do anything other than pursue the policies that have guaranteed that peace would be a gamble. The Government will not gamble with the nation's defence.
When considering the arguments for multilateral disarmament, is the reason why the Secretary of State and the Government are not present at the Geneva talks either that the Americans and the Russians do not regard us as important enough or that they regard the possession by Great Britain of nuclear weapons as utterly irrelevant to their discussions?
It is extraordinary that the right hon. Gentleman should have spent so much time supporting a Labour Government who attached so much importance to the British independent nuclear deterrent. He knows well, as I do, that one cannot be a member of an alliance that has many members and expect all of them to negotiate with the one country that represents a significant threat—the Soviet Union. We work in trust with our American allies, as did the Labour party when in power, and we negotiate with them in private about the terms which they present to the Soviet Union. That is the only practical way in which the Alliance can work.
The right hon. Gentleman is fully aware that the present focus of attention in Geneva is on the intermediate range deployment of cruise weapons. Those are American weapons and we are consulted deeply about the negotiations. We are not, in the context of those negotiations, discussing Great Britain's independent nuclear system.