Now is the time: Churches welcome LibDem debate on Trident

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

Revd Alison Tomlin, President of the Methodist Conference, who isattending the Liberal Democrat Conference today as part of adelegation of Church leaders, said: "At a time when the coalitiongovernment that includes the Liberal Democrats is looking at cutsthat will hurt millions of people in Britain, it is offensive to belooking at spending at least £20 billion on weapons of massdestruction. Now is the time to make it clear that the cost ofreplacing Trident is too high, both financially and morally."

The emergency motion calls for the Trident renewal to be includedin the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and forministers to seek alternatives to the renewal of Trident. TheBaptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the UnitedReformed Church have called for there to be no Trident renewal aspart of the UK's commitment to reducing nuclear arsenalsworldwide.

The Revd Dr Kirsty Thorpe, moderator of the General Assembly of theUnited Reformed Church, also attending the Liberal DemocratConference, said: "It is surprising that Britain's only strategicweapon system is not included in a Strategic Defence Review. It isa cold war system increasingly inappropriate in a post-cold warworld. Britain has a chance to lead the world in nuclear weaponsreduction, and the government has a chance to make real savingsthat won't hit the most vulnerable in our society."

Revd Graham Sparkes, Head of Faith and Unity at the Baptist Unionof Great Britain, said: "We are pleased that the rank and filemembership of the Liberal Democrats have brought this debate totheir conference, and we hope that the government will heed what issaid. Like-for-like replacement is the most expensive of theoptions available. More cost-effective alternatives to Tridentwould not compromise our security. It is clear to us that ourfuture national security does not rely on nuclear weapons and wetrust that those will the power to do so will be bold enough tomake the right decision."