21 September 2010

Now is the time: Churches welcome LibDem debate on Trident

Three leading British churches have welcomed the Liberal Democrats decision to hold a debate on Trident renewal following grassroots pressure. The Churches believe there is no ethical, financial or strategic reason to invest in these weapons in the post-cold war era.

Revd Alison Tomlin, President of the Methodist Conference, who is attending the Liberal Democrat Conference today as part of a delegation of Church leaders, said: "At a time when the coalition government that includes the Liberal Democrats is looking at cuts that will hurt millions of people in Britain, it is offensive to be looking at spending at least £20 billion on weapons of mass destruction. Now is the time to make it clear that the cost of replacing Trident is too high, both financially and morally."

The emergency motion calls for the Trident renewal to be included in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and for ministers to seek alternatives to the renewal of Trident. The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have called for there to be no Trident renewal as part of the UK's commitment to reducing nuclear arsenals worldwide.

The Revd Dr Kirsty Thorpe, moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, also attending the Liberal Democrat Conference, said: "It is surprising that Britain's only strategic weapon system is not included in a Strategic Defence Review. It is a cold war system increasingly inappropriate in a post-cold war world. Britain has a chance to lead the world in nuclear weapons reduction, and the government has a chance to make real savings that won't hit the most vulnerable in our society."

Revd Graham Sparkes, Head of Faith and Unity at the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said: "We are pleased that the rank and file membership of the Liberal Democrats have brought this debate to their conference, and we hope that the government will heed what is said. Like-for-like replacement is the most expensive of the options available. More cost-effective alternatives to Trident would not compromise our security. It is clear to us that our future national security does not rely on nuclear weapons and we trust that those will the power to do so will be bold enough to make the right decision."

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