To mark their 60th anniversary, CND are showing ’60 faces of CND’ – an online exhibit. We’re happy to see Jeremy Corbyn is top of the list, amongst other Labour MPs – past and present.
This is the full statement published by Jeremy Corbyn on LabourList after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition of hundreds of NGOs based in Geneva.
I’m proud to have worked with ICAN for the goal of a nuclear free world for many years and the Nobel Committee’s call for serious global nuclear disarmament talks demands an urgent response.
The need to avoid a nuclear apocalypse, killing millions upon millions of innocents and wrecking our planet. is becoming ever more pressing. Sadly, Theresa May and the Conservatives have tried to turn the issue into a party political game.
They are deeply irresponsible. Acting to prevent war, especially nuclear war, should be the starting point of any serious and sensible defence and foreign policy.
The tensions on the Korean Peninsula underline the urgency of the nuclear powers’ obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to bring about nuclear disarmament.
We have to wind down the rhetoric now. As a member of the [United Nations] Security Council, Britain has an important responsibility and role to play. The next Labour government will ensure Britain takes a lead in strengthening global peace and security.
Reproduced from LabourList
The crisis on the Korean Peninsula is bringing the region closer to open military conflict than it’s been for many years, with unimaginable humanitarian consequences. By accident or design, the actions by North Korea and the United States could result in a nuclear detonation.
The war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, reflects escalating provocations on both sides.
On 7 July the UN adopted the first-ever, legally-binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The UK boycotted the UN’s global nuclear ban negotiations. Britain greeted the treaty’s adoption with a statement signed jointly with the US and France, declaring: ‘We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.’
A month later, President Trump was threatening ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’.
Did you know that despite heightened nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula Britain will be participating in US-led military exercises there for 10 days beginning Monday 21 August? These war games are a simulation of war with North Korea which involves around 85,000 land, sea and air personnel.
The government is keeping shtum about UK involvement – how many British forces and from which services will be taking part. But in the House of Lords in January, however, Defence Minister Earl Howe confirmed that the UK does take part in these exercises.
Jeremy Corbyn has urged the government to refrain from military intervention in North Korea, including the forthcoming Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises.
Today, and on the 9th August, the world will commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which indiscriminately killed over 100,000 civilians and military personnel. Many survivors live with the horrific humanitarian consequences, including cancer caused by the exposure to nuclear radiation.
Despite the binding obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, many nuclear weapons states including the UK are failing to live up to this commitment and even attempting to undermine efforts. This is hard to justify when we reflect on the horrors of nuclear mass destruction.
Now more than ever, we must redouble our efforts to build a world that genuinely meets the security needs of its people. The historic progress made by majority of governments around the world preparing to sign the recently adopted UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is a step in this direction.
In a speech on Friday 26 May 2017, Jeremy Corbyn reiterated his condolences to the families and friends of the victims, paid tribute to the emergency services and Manchester’s mood of unwavering defiance. ‘The man who unleashed carnage on Manchester,’ he emphasised, ‘was not representative of Muslims.’
The war on terror was not working, Corbyn said. Whoever led the next government must do better. Labour’s approach means change at home and abroad:
- Labour would reverse cuts to emergency services and police. The UK cannot be protected on the cheap.
- Labour would be tough on terror and on the causes of terror. The causes of attacks like Manchester can’t be reduced to foreign policy decisions alone.
- An informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is indispensable for effective response. Many professionals acknowledge connections between wars the UK has fought and terrorism in Britain. This connection in no way reduces guilt of those who carry out attacks like Manchester.
- Bringing end to conflict will almost always involve talking to people we profoundly disagree with. But the responsibility of government is never surrender the freedoms we have won. Carrying on as normal is an act of defiance of those who do reject our commitment to democratic freedoms.
In the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show (23/04/2017) interview at the start of the general election campaign, Corbyn said that an incoming Labour government would carry out a defence review, including the Trident nuclear weapons system. A couple of days later, the Guardian carried an article claiming this statement meant he was in breach of Labour’s manifesto commitments.
During the nomination period for the Labour leadership election Labour CND wrote the following letter to Labour MPs urging them to nominate Jeremy Corbyn. We are delighted that the anti-Trident voice will now be heard in the leadership debates over the summer.
As nominations for our party’s next leader are now open we urge you to nominate Labour CND Chair Jeremy Corbyn.
As Trident replacement could be the defining issue for MPs in the current Parliament, we are writing to ask that you consider nominating Jeremy to go forward to the ballot of party members.
We believe that MPs have a duty to Party members to ensure that the widest possible debate can take place in the coming months, rather than nominating the candidate they personally support.
The renewal of the UKs Trident nuclear weapon system is estimated to cost £100 billion, at a time of continuing austerity this cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. Trident is a Cold War weapon and renewal would prevent the UK from moving on from Cold War security concerns.
There is widespread support in the Labour Party for action on disarmament. Opposition to Trident dominated submissions from CLPs to the 2014 Summer National Policy Forum, which resulted in a manifesto commitment that a Labour Government would include Trident renewal in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. In a survey of election candidates 75% of Labour respondents supported the call for disarmament and said so publicly, including many successfully backed by the electorate.
There is no doubt that the Labour Party must have a wide-ranging debate in the coming months following the General Election defeat. Without Jeremy Corbyn taking part the voices of many Labour members will not be heard. I/we hope you will consider facilitating this debate by nominating Jeremy this week.
Joy Hurcombe and Walter Wolfgang
Vice-Chairs, Labour CND
By Jeremy Corbyn MP
This week in New York the world’s nuclear, and avowedly non-nuclear states will be meeting at the UN one year in advance of the five yearly review of the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Labour should celebrate this. Fred Mulley, the Disarmament Minister in the first Wilson Government 1964-70 advocated the idea of a non proliferation treaty as a way of encouraging a nuclear free world.
The 1970 Treaty requires no- nuclear states to stay that way, declared nuclear weapons states to take steps towards disarmament and not export technology to facilitate nuclear weapons development.
The Treaty has had limited success. Positively the majority of states have not developed nuclear weapons, there are nuclear weapons free zones in Africa, Latin America and Central Asia. Negatively Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea possess nuclear devices.
Israel is the only nuclear weaponed state in the region. We only know this because Mordechai Vanunu told the world this and suffered 18 years in jail of which 13 were in soilitary confinement. He is still denied the right to travel and is under severe restriction for his bravery.
Iran has processing capability and is now, following the historic Syria vote in August, deep in discussion with the IAEA and P5 plus 1 to become a verified non nuclear weapons capable state.
Now, more than ever, is the time to pursue the aim of a nuclear weapons free Middle East by organising the all nations conference.
Dangerously the failure of the NPT leadership to hold the much demanded conference on a nuclear weapons free middle east has led to serious threats of proliferation by Saudi Arabia and other states to rival Israel’s possession of these weapons of mass destruction.
The five declared states have all reduced war head possession but not the fundamental nuclear capability that the weapons bring.
Anyone that imagines nuclear weapons are somehow a manageable and reasonable part of a military arsenal should look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombing of 1945. Seeing the total waste and cancerous inheritance of the 300,000 dead then multiply it by ten to give an indication of the threat the whole nuclear concept presents.
Anyone who advocates the possession of the weapons as a part of a security argument then has to ask themselves, would they use them?
The UN Humanitarian Effects of War conference held in Oslo last year was boycotted by the five weapons states as was its successor in Mexico in February. In December Austria will convene a successor. So far the British Government has refused to confirm or otherwise its attendance.
Labour, at the very least, should be demanding attendance and as a gesture send Party representatives to discuss the real environmental, health and economic effects of nuclear weapons. Whilst the last Government did support the NPT process it also forced through a vote in 2007 to start the process of renewing Trident. 100 Labour MP’s voted against and opposition to nuclear weapons is growing.
In 2016 the “main gate” decision will be taken and commit Britain to £100bn over twenty five years. Are Labour MP’s seriously to be asked to spend this money when the demands on housing, education, transport and jobs are so overwhelming.
We need to recognise the Labour record on nuclear weapons is at best patchy. In 1949 Attlee managed to allow the secret development of the H Bomb which even his cabinet was unaware of. Callaghan did much the same thirty years later. Is the next Labour Government to go down this road or be bolder and more moral?
A start would be to say we are not renewing Trident and have a bold plan of job guarantees in very advanced engineering to ensure the huge skills in Barrow and elsewhere are not lost.
The Scottish TUC vote on Arms Conversion shows just how fast and far the debate has moved. The Nuclear Education Trust “Barrow Alternatives” is a serious and realistic examination of the economic case of not relying solely on armaments work. It would also give Britain some moral leverage in the world where the dangers off proliferation are huge. Those countries who have renounced these weapons such as South Africa, Argentina and Brazil have shown it is possible. It would also mean that Labour would keep faith with the 1970 Treaty has fulfilling its obligation to take steps toward disarmament.
Post Cold War, with the political damage to Labour of Blair and Iraq still obvious, it is time to end the cross party military consensus that there is “security” in having indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.
Real security is about health, environment and education; about protecting people from destitution and sharing resources. Maintaining ourselves as part of a threat to the whole planet does not make Britain safer, or more respected.
This year’s conference will be the last before the General Election. Are we to have the chicanery by the pro nuclear elements to deny a debate or will the case for a non nuclear world be able to be put?
Jeremy Corbyn EDMs following NPT PrepCom 2014
- EDM 1322 on UK Attendance at Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons Conference in Austria
- EDM 1323 on Marshall Islands and Nuclear Disarmament