Labour CND has prepared two Contemporary Motions, which we hope Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) will submit for debate at the Labour Party conference. Please do take these motions to your CLP meetings – if the motions are chosen by delegates as one of the four for debate at the conference and passed, they should become Party policy! Please note there is a 250 word limit on motions submitted for conference.
The deadline for submission of Contemporary Motions is 14 September. It is therefore essential that your CLP meets to discuss this issue before that date. We need as many submissions as possible to ensure that we cannot be ignored by the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC).
Labour CND has prepared an anti-Trident motion for Labour Party conference delegates to vote on in September. Labour’s annual conference has avoided a vote on Trident for almost 20 years – previous motions have been ruled out. But with huge opposition to Trident amongst Labour Party members and the present leadership clearly opposed to Trident, Conference 2016 represents a strong opportunity.
A change in Labour Party policy on Trident would be a huge step towards stopping government plans to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons system. It would mean a future Labour government could stop the programme before hundreds of billions are wasted on a militarily useless weapon. It would also be a strong platform to construct a new foreign policy designed for the 21st century.
Although CLPs have not been holding meetings in recent months, meetings to consider matters relating to Conference will be taking place in the coming weeks. The text of the motion is below, if you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposed United Nations conference on Nuclear Disarmament affects domestic policy
Conference notes on the 19 August 2016 the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament recommended that the General Assembly convene, in 2017, a conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Conference condemns the United Kingdom boycott of the Open-Ended Working Group and calls on the Government to enter into negotiations in good faith to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world.
Conferences reaffirms its commitment to a world without nuclear weapons.
Conference recognises the strength of arguments against Trident from a financial point of view, and from the perspective of an assessment of the actual contemporary threats to British security, such as terrorism. Conference also accepts the compelling moral argument against the use of nuclear weapons.
Conference believes that defence diversification must be an urgent priority for the next Labour government. The next Labour Government must offer cast-iron guarantees on the security of related skilled employment, which is lacking from the existing ?Successor? programme. The priority must be to secure the employment for individuals and the future of the communities involved.
Conference therefore resolves: 1. That a Labour Government will cancel plans to replace Trident and engage in ongoing UN work towards a global nuclear weapons ban. 2. To instruct the NEC to immediately establish a ‘Shadow Defence Diversification Agency’ with trade union participation and which shall report annually to the Labour Party Conference until a Labour Government has set up a statutory Agency.
The CND, Labour CND and Labour Action for Peace fringe meeting is a firm fixture at the Labour Party Conference. This year, following delegates deciding not to put Trident on the conference agenda, the meeting was given an extra sense of urgency.
The meeting, which took place at the Mercure Hotel in Brighton was full long before the first speaker addressed the crowd. Delegates and party members were joined by members of the press to hear Kate Osamor MP, Julie Ward MEP, Chris Williamson (MP for Derby North 2010-2015) and Jo Rust and Simeon Elliott (both National Policy Forum). The meeting was Chaired by Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND. There were also a host of jounralists in attendance, including several political editors and film crews from the UK and Germany. Kate Hudson started the meeting by reading out a statement from Jeremy Corbyn, who was due to speak at the meeting but was unable to attend due to his commitments as leader. The statement reaffirmed Jeremy’s position on Trident and he pledged to do his “persuasive best” to change Labour policy, for which he has a massive mandate.
Kate Osamor, recently elected in Edmonton, told the meeting that opposition to Trident had been a key part of Jeremy Corbyn’s platform in the Labour leadership election, and she was commited to doing everything she could to oppose spending £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Julie Ward MEP, representing the North West of England, spoke about the work she is involved in at the European level, but also locally. Her constituency includes both Barrow, where work on the replacement submarines will take place, and Manchester, one of the UKs many nuclear-free local authorities.
Chris Williamson spoke about the need for Labour to have a coherent, consistent policy on Trident, and his conviction that changing position would be electorally beneficial. Chris also spoke about the need for defence diversification, as set out by Jeremy Corbyn in his election campaign.
Jo Rust and Simeon Elliott, both recently elected to the National Policy Forum, both spoke about the need to engage members in the policy making.
After the opening remarks from the panel there were a range of questions from the floor including on the morality of nuclear weapons, the so-called deterrent effect and ideas for what else the money would be better spent on.