Nuclear power: a harmful distraction to climate change? A Labour CND webinar

Register for the Zoom link

At the COP28 climate talks in Dubai in December, 22 countries including the UK, signed a declaration to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050.  In March, the first ever nuclear power summit was held in Brussels where Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency said “Today I can assure you that nuclear is coming back, and coming back strongly.”

But can there be a “vision of a nuclear for peace and prosperity” that supports the action we need on climate change? 

Labour CND does not believe this is the case.  In October last year, we set out our arguments against nuclear power in a new pamphlet: Labour, Climate Change, and Nuclear power – Not Cheap, Not Safe, Not Peaceful.  It covers the history of Labour’s support for nuclear power and why the labour movement needs to oppose this technology – whether old or new nuclear.

This webinar will look at the points made in the pamphlet and explore the renaissance in nuclear power. It will lead off with an overview of Labour CND’s pamphlet by Sam Mason, the principle author. Contributions from Linda Clarke will look at the construction side of the industry and Dr Phil Johnstone will emphasis the links between civilian and defence nuclear projects.

As opinions among environmentalists, the labour movement and even some anti-nuclear weapons campaigners remains divided, this is a pivotal moment to ensure a well informed debate. In particular, not just about the technology of nuclear power but the political and social justice dynamics of it.

Labour CND statement on Keir Starmer’s support for Trident and increased military spending

Keir Starmer 2015:
‘I am opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.’

Labour CND has issued the following statement in response to Keir Starmer’s visit to Barrow, Friday 12 April

Keir Starmer used a visit to Barrow-in-Furness on 12 April to announce Labour’s ‘unshakeable absolute total’ commitment to Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system, and Labour’s plan to raise military spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product under a Labour government which means billions of pounds more public funds allocated to the military budget.1

Starmer should be under no illusions. He does not speak for the majority of Labour Party members, however, or even the public on these issues. Nor does this allay Tory voter fears that Labour is a safe pair of hands when it comes to defence.2

Trident is the ‘bedrock of Labour’s plan to keep Britain safe’, he said. The UK’s ‘nuclear deterrent’ was ‘maintained on behalf of NATO’. This was ‘a generational, multi-decade commitment’ from a Starmer government.

International tensions are growing, and with them the risk of nuclear confrontation. Politicians may believe Trident guarantees us a place at the top table. But the assurance of Labour and Tories alike that it brings safety for people in Britain is a cruel illusion. Meanwhile UK domestic politics continues to ignore the true international situation which is that Britain has not signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into force in 2021.

Politicians may believe Trident guarantees us a place at the top table. But the assurance of Labour and Tories alike that it brings safety for people in Britain is a cruel illusion.

The possession of a nuclear weapons system makes the UK a target. The decision to site United States nuclear weapons on British soil – taken without public or even parliamentary debate – puts us on the front line of any nuclear attack.

Britain’s nuclear weapons system is not independent as Starmer claims. Trident is dependent on US technology and know-how.

Even sections of the military recognise that the money spent on Trident would be better deployed elsewhere, arguing for increases in areas of conventional defence.

Disregarding these and many other arguments against nuclear weapons, in a statement shot through with jingoism, Starmer has made three commitments which he argues will defend the UK economy and prioritise British jobs and skills:

  • to build all four new Dreadnought nuclear submarines in the UK, at Barrow-in-Furness;
  • to maintain Britain’s continuous at sea nuclear deterrent; and
  • to deliver all future upgrades needed to properly equip Trident.

    A commitment to increase the military budget means cuts elsewhere in government investment and public spending. Figures released by the Treasury as part of the Spring Budget showed that Core Military Spending was £54.2 billion pounds for the year ending March 2024, around 2.3% of GDP.3 How else will a Labour government, committed to fiscal responsibility as well as lowering taxes, find the extra resources to fund Starmer’s commitment to increase the military budget? It will come at the expense of the NHS, education, and the ability to address child poverty or to abolish the two-child cap on child benefits. It will also come at the expense of dealing with the human security threat of climate change.Labour CND says the next Labour government should not allow its priorities to be dictated by the Conservative Party and their establishment friends. We need is a radical rethink about spending priorities and about British foreign policy.The incoming Labour government will face a range of challenges. None of them will be solved by nuclear weapons or spending ever more money on the military.
  1. Keir Starmer, My commitment to the UK’s nuclear deterrent is Unshakeable Absolute Total, Daily Mail exclusive, 11 April 2024 at Trident-new-generation-nuclear-submarines-built-UK.htm ↩︎
  2. See for example the hundreds of reader comments in response to the above, which have appeared within hours of the article being posted online. ↩︎
  3. Dr Stuart Parkinson, Co-Chair GCOMS-UK (UK branch of the Global Campaign on Military Spending) and Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, Spring Budget 24: Military Spending Continues to Grow at the Expense of Climate Funds and Overseas Aid, at ↩︎

Support for Diane Abbott MP after Hester’s racist attack

Frank Hester, chief executive of The Phoenix Partnership, which donated £10m to Tory Party funds last year, became infamous overnight for his racist attack on Diane Abbott MP in March. Even some senior Tories have said his apology for being ‘rude’ simply doesn’t cut it.

We reproduce below some of the support that has flooded in for Britain’s first black woman MP, reproduced from Labour Black Socialist social media. Yet again LBS has been in the forefront of defending Diane.

First, Diane herself, followed by a Channel 4 video of the Hackney Rally and comments from Martin Forde KC

Labour CND statement: why Unite the Union is wrong to attack groups picketing weapons manufacturing companies

Labour CND is extremely concerned to read the letter recently sent to Unite officers, organisers, and staff by General Secretary Sharon Graham and Chair Andy Green, which is now circulating in the public domain.  

The GS and Chair alert recipients to ‘a number of extremely troubling actions being undertaken by a tiny minority of individuals, inside and outside of our union… a small number [of whom] are linked to groups who want us to make decisions detrimental to our membership and their jobs.’

We reproduce below that section of the letter which relates to Palestine – described by Graham and Geen as one of their ‘key areas’ of concern – together with Labour CND’s statement.


Labour CND is aware that, since 2020, the Labour Party leadership has sought to prevent CLPs and individual members discussing important areas of policy on pain of suspension or expulsion. These include what Keir Starmer has described as Labour’s ‘unshakeable commitment’ to NATO, Labour’s support for the Tory government’s position on the war in Ukraine, and (more recently but less successfully) Israel’s war on Gaza.

We are alarmed that Unite, a Labour affiliated union, shows signs of moving in the same direction. This raises serious questions about the conduct of legitimate, democratic debate about UK defence policy.

Graham and Green say there is ‘no contradiction for a trade union to hold a position of solidarity with Palestinian workers, while at the same time refusing to support campaigns that target our members workplaces without their support’.  Labour CND says solidarity is not just a sentiment, but something that is demonstrated in action. Whether in Palestine or elsewhere, it cannot be acceptable to protect the interests of workers in UK arms industries while thousands are being slaughter by the products of their labour.

Labour CND believes that in a democracy campaigners have the right to target workplaces that are employed in making weapons of mass destruction which render the world less safe. This does not and should not include attacks on individual workers. It does include weapons that will be used to further genocide in Gaza; and those used by NATO, which is a nuclear first-strike military alliance, as well as projects such as AUKUS. Labour Party conference 2021 voted to oppose AUKUS with the support of Unite the Union.

The threat of nuclear war has never been greater. Labour CND believes the international labour movement, including trade unions in Britain, should be working to uphold the principles of international solidarity, justice and peace, including support for a world free of weapons of mass destruction.

That is why we have consistently argued the need for a real defence diversification strategy so workers are protected and able to transition to alternative work. We support the role of trade unions to play a leading part in that process.

Protecting members interests does not stop at pay or terms and conditions. It is about putting forward alternatives, to ensure workers can apply their skills for socially and ecologically useful work as in the tradition of the former Lucas Aerospace workers in the 1970s.

Defence policy, the UK’s support for NATO, and the AUKUS project cannot be decided on the basis of how they impact trade union members in the arms industry alone. They have wider social, economic, and political implications. They should be part of a healthy debate within the labour movement, just like education, welfare, the health service, climate change, and so forth.

This last point gets to the crux of Labour CND’s concern. We work actively within the labour movement to advocate for a nuclear free world, and opposition to NATO and the AUKUS project.

Trade union members have a right to be informed, engage in debate, and take up these issues through the democratic structures of their union. That includes policies to address the most challenging issues of our times such as climate change, inequality and the cost-of-living crisis.

Any suggestion that groups such as ours, which include many trade union members, should be prevented from building support for our position is undemocratic, and carries undertones of bans such as those we are witnessing in the Labour Party.

The predecessors of Unite the Union have a long and strong tradition of supporting peace and  nuclear disarmament, and putting forward defence diversification alternatives like the report of May 2015. Defence Diversification Revisited argued for a Defence Diversification Agency ‘with teeth’.

That argument remains valid today. Labour CND is open to discussing with Unite how we can work in unity within our movement and the Labour Party to achieve this.

Extract on Palestine from Unite letter

Of all the issues that have been used in these attacks, probably the most abhorrent is the attempted weaponisation of the conflict and the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and the collective punishment of the people of Gaza.

Unite, through the General Secretary and the Chair of the Union and the Executive Council, was the first major union to publicly and unambiguously call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. We were very clear. We have watched on with horror the bombardment and destruction of Gaza, and the unbearable terror, suffering and death of its innocent civilians. We have been unequivocal that the deliberate killing of civilians, hostage-taking and collective punishment are war crimes and should be identified as such.

Unite has also donated £50,000 to Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders specifically to help the many victims of this horrific conflict. Most recently the General Secretary has written to the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) offering our solidarity after the horrific bombing of their Gaza headquarters which, alongside providing services to workers, was also functioning as a kindergarten and bakery.

However, we cannot and will not endorse any organisation which decides unilaterally and without any discussion (let alone agreement) with the workers themselves, to support the targeting of our members’ workplaces or their jobs. To be clear, this will not happen. No outside body, no matter what their political position, will be allowed to dictate terms to our Union and our members.

It is important to highlight here that it is a core principle of Unite that as a trade union the ‘first claim’ on our priorities is always the protection and advancement of our members’ interests at work. It is very simple. Unite cannot and never will advocate or support any course of action which is counter to that principle. We are a trade union, not a political party or single-issue campaign group.

Therefore, there is no contradiction for a trade union to hold a position of solidarity with Palestinian workers, while at the same time refusing to support campaigns that target our members’ workplaces without their support. Similarly, we cannot be expected to affiliate to organisations that actively work against our members and their jobs.

Examples include groups that look to build networks inside trade unions to undermine the defence industry or demand the disbandment of NATO and AUKUS. Whatever anyone may think personally about those objectives is irrelevant. We are a trade union with thousands of members employed in the defence industry. It is the views of affected members that take precedence in a trade union. That will not change and nor should it. Unite members have recently been attacked directly, been spat at and called “child killers”.* We cannot and will not endorse this…..

* Labour CND has no evidence that Unite members have been attacked in this way. We include the sentence for the sake of completeness.

Zarah Sultana leads call from UK parliamentarians to halt arms exports to Israel

Top marks to Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana who was quick off the mark in responding to Israel’s refusal to implement the UN Security Resolution calling for a ceasefire. She has successfully coordinated a cross party letter signed by a 134 MPs and Lords calling on the government to ‘immediately suspend export licenses for arms transfers to Israel’. In this context, the 134 say, busines as usual for arms exports to Israel is totally unacceptable.

Earlier this month, Richard Burgon MP wrote to the Foreign Secretary demanding an investigation into whether UK-supplied military equipment was used in the bombing of British doctors volunteering in Gaza.

What does the sift in US-Israel relations mean for Gaza?

Carol Turner traces the shift in US-Israel relations which led to the first ceasefire resolution from the UN in six months, and asks what it might mean for Gaza

On 25 March the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2728 (2024) by 14 votes for, including the UK, and 1 abstention by the United States. The UNSC resolution demands ‘an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan’ and ‘the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with international humanitarian law’. 

Israel immediately announced it would not comply with the resolution, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a scheduled trip to the US by his senior advisers. The Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, tweeted: ‘We will destroy Hamas and continue to fight until the last of the hostages returns home.’

The current strain in relations between Israel and the US, which have led to the first successful ceasefire resolution in six months, emerged into the open in December when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans for his military operation in Rafah. The US insists this is ‘a major mistake’. But diplomatic efforts to change Netanyahu’s direction have so far failed to achieve results.

Rafah: a shift in US-Israel relations

Rafah not only marks a new and brutal phase in Israel’s war on Gaza, it also represents a significant shift in US relations with the Netanyahu government. It does not, however, signal a fundamental break in the United States relations with Israel. Nor is it the first sign of tensions between Israel and the US over Gaza.

An intelligence report, the Annual Threat Assessment 2024 of the US Intelligence Community – released on 5 February this year but prepared over months before recent tensions emerged – predicts that Israel will struggle to achieve its goal of destroying Hamas.  The report expresses concern that Netanyahu’s right wing coalition ‘may be in jeopardy’, and poses the possibility of ‘a different, more moderate government’ in Israel.

The following exchanges (mostly taken from New York Times reports) trace the path to the United States abstention on UNSC resolution 2728:

US pressure on Netanyahu

9 March: President Joe Biden said Netanyahu was ‘hurting Israel more than helping Israel’.

10 March: in an interview with Politico US, Netanyahu dismissed Biden’s comment saying the ‘overwhelming majority’ of Israelis agree with his, Netanyahu’s policies.

14 March: Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, majority Senate leader and described as the most senior Jewish elected official in the US called for elections to replace Netanyahu. He said Netanyahu’s ‘political survival [was] taking precedence over the best interests of Israel’.

15 March: Biden confirmed the White House had been given notice of Schumer’s speech: ‘He made a good speech, and I think he expressed serious concern shared not only by him, but by many Americans.’

15 March: Israeli politicians were divided. Yair Lapid, leader of Israel’s opposition since January 2023 and founder of Yesh Atid, described as a centrist, liberal Zionist party, welcomed Schumer’s comments. He said ‘Netanyahu is causing heavy damage to the national effort to win the war and preserve Israel’s security. War cabinet member Benny Ganz tweeted that Schumer ‘erred in his remark’ saying ‘external intervention is not correct and not welcome’.

Should Biden be unable to persuade Netanyahu to change course, the intelligence report together with the political comments and exchanges cited above suggest that the US is willing to publicly encourage a change of government in Israel. This is further confirmed elsewhere.

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, President of the Middle East Policy Council and a former US Ambassador to Malta told BBC Newsnight, Schumer was known as a staunch ally of Israel and the point of his speech was ‘for it to be noticed by the Israeli people’.  Ehud Olmert, speaking on the same programme said ‘every minute that [Netanyahu] is prime minister he is a danger to Israel’ and pointed out ‘a majority of Israelis don’t trust the prime minister’. Olmert is a former Israeli prime minister 2006-09 and Mayor of Jerusalem 1993-2003.

No change of direction for the US

Sadly, this does not reflect a change of heart in relation to Gaza so much as concern that the impact of Netanyahu’s military action in Gaza is significantly undermining international support for Israel and, therefore, acting as a hinderance to US influence in the Middle East.

In an interview with MSNBC, Biden elaborated on his comments that Netanyahu was hurting more than helping Israel. He had, he said, spoken to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and they are ‘all fully willing to recognise Israel and begin to rebuild the region’.

It is not yet clear that the events of the past week will lead either to a change of policy on humanitarian aid to Gaza and the collective punishment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, or to a change of government in Israel.

Despite Netanyahu’s personal unpopularity in Israel and the differences that exist in the Knesset, all the political parties share an over-arching goal – that of protecting the existence of the state of Israel. So far this has meant the Knesset is unwilling to distance itself from Netanyahu’s military strategy, even though some politicians are critical of the details.

This is the fundamental roadblock Biden is facing.

Carol Turner is Coordinator of CND ‘s International Advisory Group. This article first appeared as an IAG Information Paper for CND’s National Council

Time to stop arming Israel

There’s dark days are ahead for Gaza in 2024, with little sign of a let-up in Israel’s bombardment notwithstanding the International Court of Justice’s ruling.

Over 25,000 are dead after three months of Israeli bombing. Three times that number are injured, and a lack of basic medical supplies means they face sepsis, gangrene, and amputations without anaesthetic.

The UN has estimated that 25% of population is starving, and everyone in is going hungry. This makes Gazans more susceptible to the spread of water- and air-borne diseases.

Despite the humanitarian horrors, Israel’s offer of a two month humanitarian ceasefire in return for the release of all hostages is unlikely to fly, and IDF spokespeople continue to suggest hostilities will go on throughout 2024.

The United States could, of course, end all this in a moment. How? By cutting off military aid.

Israel is the biggest recipient of US foreign aid. On US government figures, it received more than $3.3 billion in 2022, of which 99.7% of which went to the Israeli military. That’s right – not a slip of the pen, not a typo –99.7% of US aid to Israel was military aid. The arms industry is making a packet from the war on Gaza.

Meanwhile protests are growing across the world. Given the scale of daily slaughter played out in real-time across the world’s TV and social media, that’s hardly surprising. With no sign yet of a shift towards ‘less intense’ warfare that Israel claimed it would adopt in the new year, most people are convinced that Israel’s actions have little to do with ‘self-defence’ and much to do with genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

The brutal bombardment of Gaza, has also brought Israelis onto the streets. Thousands marched in Tel Aviv to demand a ceasefire recently, despite police attempts to ban the protest. The organisers said public pressure was responsible for the event finally being approved: ‘After 100 days of war, the hostages have not returned, innocent Palestinians are being killed, and we still don’t have security.’

The Palestine solidarity movement here in Britain remains on high alert, and the turn-out for national marches is huge. UK trade unionists are beginning to organise pickets of companies supplying Israel; and we’ve even see a few school students protests.

Palestine Action, a direct-action group opposing Britain’s arms sales to Israel, recently covered Twickenham stadium in red paint – a reminder of the blood shed by Palestinians – just hours before an International Armoured Vehicles expo was due to begin there. The event is host to the biggest representative of Israel’s arms trade, Haifa-based Elbit Systems Ltd, as well as their British subsidiary Elbit Systems UK and the Israeli state-owned arms manufacturer, Rafael.

A Palestine Action spokesperson said inviting Israeli arms dealers as guests of honour shamed everyone who took part. ‘After developing their weaponry in the laboratory of Palestine, Elbit and Rafael then sell these technologies on to other regimes, while our government turns a blind eye to this brutality.’

With the conflict set to spread beyond Israel and the Occupied Territories into the Middle East, it’s as well to remember that Israel is not simply a heavily armed state; it’s a nuclear armed state, one of only 9 in the world.

When Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu suggested in a radio interview back in Novemer that ‘the nuclear option was one way’ of dealing with Gaza, most people laughed. As unrealistic as it sounds to consider dropping a nuclear bomb on your own doorstep, Israel does have tactical nuclear weapons. Given IDF belligerence and the possibility that Iran could be pushed into the conflict, who’s to say a section of the Israeli leadership wouldn’t consider threatening their use?

What seemed like a hollow threat from a few Israeli government outliers last autumn, could be a step closer as the consequences spread across the Middle East and North Africa. CND continues to call for a nuclear weapons free Middle East – an important component in a stable, long-term solution for the war-torn region.

Now’s the time to add Stop Arming Israel! to the demand for Ceasefire Now!

Remembering Alice Mahon

Regretfully we’ve had to postpone this commemoration. The demands on all our time are greater than usual, and speakers availability is more limited. We will be rescheduling the event for later in the year, and will be in touch as soon as the date is confirmed. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. All ticket-holders have had any donations they made refunded, and will be emailed as soon as a new date is available. 

Alice Mahon
28 September 1937 to 25 December 2022

When it came to war and nukes, former MP for Halifax Alice Mahon was the scourge of the Parliamentary Labour Party. A life-long CND supporter and tireless anti-war campaigner, she opposed the bombing of Iraq in 1991 and founded the Committee for Peace in the Balkans two years later, anticipating NATO’s bombardment of former Yugoslavia.

In 2003 Alice resigned as PPS to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Smith to oppose the invasion of Iraq in 2003. She worked with the Stop the War, with CND, and with Muslim organisations such as Iraqi Democrats Against War and the Muslim Association of Britain, against the second Iraq invasion, and founded Iraq Liaison, a cross party campaign to promote parliamentary opposition to military action.

Throughout her life, Alice was committed to peace, socialism, and internationalism. A feminist, a strong trade unionist, and proud to represent Halifax where she’d live all her life, in public and in private, Alice worked hard at living her life in line with her principles.

Join Labour CND’s online commemoration of Alice’s life, and hear more about the many rights she supported and injustices she opposed from Jeremy Corbyn and many of her friends throughout the movement.

Labour CND statement on Gaza Ceasefire now! Stop the genocide! End the occupation!

Image courtesy of @GazaMedicVoices on X

Atrocious and disproportionate attacks on vulnerable Gazans continue day by day, hour by hour. The world watches helplessly as hospitals, schools, and other civilian facilities are targeted by Israel claiming their military actions are carried out against terrorist militias and infrastructure.

Is it any wonder that demands for a ceasefire grow, and billions of people around the world take to the streets to demand Ceasefire now! Stop the genocide! End the occupation!

Civilians on the ground in Gaza – hospital patients, babies in the neo-natal units, the vulnerable, frail, elderly, and hungry – cannot wait a moment longer for a ceasefire. More than 12,000 are already dead in Gaza as Israel continues to act with impunity.

A vote in parliament on 17 November, saw 56 Labour MPs defy the Labour whip to support a ceasefire, including 10 who resigned from shadow posts to do so. The 10 join  Imran Hussein MP who resigned from the shadow team last week, and others who signed Early Day Motion 1685, Protecting civilians in Gaza and Israel sponsored by Richard Burgon MP on 17 October.

Labour Mayors have spoken out for a ceasefire, so too Labour Councillors, National Executive Committee members, and other Labour office holders. Labour CND commends their courage and sends our solidarity.

On the morning following the vote, Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey claimed: ‘we are acting in these very difficult circumstances as if we were in government.’ Together with tens of thousands of party members, Labour CND wants Labour in government to uphold international law and be part of a positive solution to this crisis.

Hours after John Healy made his statement in support of Keir Starmer, school students marched in east London to tell Rushana Ali MP to supports a ceasefire. Days before the vote, Lambeth party members held a vigil at the constituency office of Helen Hayes MP calling for her to support a ceasefire, while trade union members blockaded a BAE systems arms factory in Rochester demanding no arms sales to Israel. BAE systems is a main supplier of parts for US F-35 fighter jets which are flown by Israel. These are just three examples of hundreds of actions taking place across Britain.

Labour CND agrees with the UN, Oxfam, Save the Children, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 89% of Labour voters, trade unionists and school students, and with the 56 Labour MPs and Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, Claudia Webbe, and the hundreds of thousands of people who keep marching on the streets of Britain: humanitarian pauses are not working, they are no alternative to the demand for a ceasefire.

Like all the people who are taking action, Labour CND wants a Labour government that acts ethically, upholds international law, and recognise what is already evident to the majority of the world: there is no military solution to this long-enduring Israel-Palestine conflict.

This Tory government has no mandate and no morals. Labour must break with bipartisan policy on Gaza. We must have a ceasefire now.

Labour CND
17 November 2023

Labour Party Conference report

Labour CND Committee member Christine Shawcroft looks back at an eventful week in Liverpool.

The CND ad van outside Labour Conference in Liverpool

The Liverpool Conference Centre was certainly heaving with people, with the consequent huge queues to get in and shortage of places to sit down, but it later transpired that there were 15,000 visitors. There were only 1,109 voting delegates, which is less than two per constituency Labour Party. Many of the visitors were Party members and councillors, but others were corporate exhibitors and sponsors of fringe events, some of whom were really not the kind of organisations one would wish to see associated with a Labour Conference.

The agenda was also ‘fiddled ‘tweeked’ in the interests of some of these companies – after an intervention by the National Executive Committee, any resolutions opposing privatisation in the NHS were bundled into the ‘Health Services and Funding’ composite, and the powers- that-be campaigned strongly for the ‘An NHS Fit for the Future’ composite which merely paid lip service to a publicly owned NHS. The weak composite was duly prioritised and carried.

However, the CND stall attracted a lot of interest and our excellent new pamphlet, Labour, Climate Change and Nuclear Power: Not Cheap, Not Safe, Not Peaceful by Sam Mason was launched at Conference and on sale at the stall. The CND fringe meeting, held in the Conference Centre itself, was very well attended and effective.

During the meeting delegates heard from Vice President of the Fire Brigades Union Steve Wright, who spoke about the need for investment in public services and wages for workers rather than nuclear weapons. MPs Beth Winter and Bell Ribeiro-Addy demonstrated the strength of feeling of Labour members from the grassroots through to Parliament, with Bell also stressing the need to adhere to international treaties.