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Trident Renewal

Part of Opposition Day — [13th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:49 pm on 20th January 2015.

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Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Labour, Lewisham, Deptford 1:49 pm, 20th January 2015

May I apologise at the outset, Madam Deputy Speaker, for the fact that I have a long-standing constituency engagement and I will not be here for the wind-ups? However, I am confident that both Front Benchers will say only good things about me.

There is a well-known saying in the peace movement that a unilateralist is a multilateralist who means it, and I am one of those. Whatever I have to say today about nuclear weapons goes for all nuclear weapons, and when the British Government, of whatever persuasion, say they want to rid the world of nuclear weapons and when they signed the non-proliferation treaty committing themselves to do just that, I also expect that they mean it. As one of only nine nuclear-armed states, the UK cannot escape its duty to progress disarmament talks. So why would we seek to upgrade Trident for another 50 years without exploring what might be done to bring forward multilateral nuclear disarmament? Why do we not ask ourselves whether spending up to £100 billion on weapons of mass destruction is actually the best way to defend the people of this country, when we cannot raise millions out of poverty or fund our precious national health service? Why do we not ask? It is because too many politicians in this country—we just heard such a speech—remain locked in cold war thinking when much of the world has moved on.