Methodist Church calls on Government to not replace Trident

The Methodist Church is repeating its call for the Government tonot replace Trident and to take a leading role in disarmament talksunder the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Steve Hucklesby,Methodist Secretary for International Affairs, said: 'A decision toreplace Trident would send an adverse signal to other states. Whenthe nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty was made permanent in 1995 itwas on the basis that the nuclear powers would disarm. By statingthat the UK will maintain a nuclear missile system indefinitely'just in case' we are reneging on that agreement.

'A number of states find themselves under pressure to developnuclear technology and signal their arrival as nuclear powers.Keeping nuclear weapons 'just in case' undermines the NPT and willdo untold damage to non-proliferation negotiations.'

The 2006 Methodist Conference called on the Government not toreplace Trident when it reaches the end of its working life but totake a lead in disarmament and non-proliferation negotiations.Recent press reports suggest that six states including Egypt andSaudi Arabia are considering developing nuclear powertechnology.

'The Government acknowledges that terrorism is likely to remain amajor threat to the security of our country for some time to come.By taking such a relaxed approach to non-proliferation ourGovernment is in danger of taking its eye off the ball. The morefissile material there is around the more likely it is that it willfall into the wrong hands and be used against us. There is a betterpath to improving our national security. It requires vigoroussupport for non-proliferation supported by a decision not to renewTrident.'

In conjunction with the United Reformed Church and BaptistChurches, the Methodist Church has encouraged its members to writeto their MPs to express their views in advance of the debate in theHouse of Commons. See the online guide.