30 June 2006

Defence Committee questions the purpose of deterrence

Statement by Steve Hucklesby, Secretary for International Affairs for The Methodist Church:

'We are pleased to see the Defence Committee's findings reflect many of the points raised by the Methodist Church in its submission.

'The report notes that the past concept of deterrence is no longer relevant in the current international context. There are clearly questions as to whether nuclear weapons will offer the best option for our security in 20 years time. We share the disappointment of the Defence Committee that the Ministry of Defence has declined to meet with it.

'It is our view that our future security will ultimately depend on a strong non-proliferation regime. We need to limit the number of new countries developing weapons. We also need to limit the increase in fissile material around the globe as there is a danger that it could fall into the wrong hands and be used to make 'dirty bombs'. An investment in a replacement in Trident cannot help us here.

'The world is changing fast. This report demonstrates that there is no reason for a future prime minister to feel bound by a concept of deterrence that was born out of the Cold War era.'

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