Sad death of Bruce Kent

Bruce Kent at Gladstonbury

Bruce Kent
22 June 1929-8 June 2022

The majority of Labour Party members are supporters of nuclear disarmament and will join Labour CND in expressing regret and sorrow at the news of the death of Bruce Kent after a short illness and less than a fortnight away from his 93rd birthday. We recall and celebrate his contribution to the peace and anti-war movements.

Bruce will be remembered as a leading figure in CND over six decades. He joined the newly formed Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1960, served as General Secretary then Chair of CND in the 1980s, and remained a national spokesperson for the Campaign thereafter. At the time of his death, Bruce was a Vice President of CND, President Emeritus of the Movement for the Abolition of War, Vice President of Pax Christi and Patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Less well-known perhaps, as a then-member of the Labour Party Bruce attended annual conference as a CLP delegate in 1989, moving the successful motion to scrap Trident. Three years later, in 1992 he stood as the Labour candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon against Conservative government minister John Paton who retained the seat.

It is a sad irony that, having been a national leader of CND during the protests at Greenham Common against the siting of US cruise missiles in Britain, one of his very last public acts was to support CND’s demonstration at Lakenheath airbase on 21 May against the return of US nuclear weapons to Britain. Unable to take part in the action, Bruce recorded a video urging support for the Lakenheath campaign.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson described Bruce’s leadership in the 1980s as ‘the embodiment of integrity, creativity and sheer determination’, praising his ‘total commitment to his faith and principles’.

Labour CND Secretary Ruth Brown’s responded to the news of Bruce Kent’s death as many others who knew him will: ‘so sad to hear about dear Bruce, I will miss his constant presence and pep talks at events so much.’

No nuclear war. De-escalate the crisis in Ukraine

Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, whose country is paying a heavy economic and human price for this conflict. But this conflict also presents a much wider threat: the existential threat of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia. Join CND in calling for an end to conflict in Ukraine to avert the threat of nuclear war:

As the crisis in Ukraine escalates, the risk of nuclear war comes ever closer. President Biden pointed out last week that war between the US and Russia would be World War III, yet this possibility is closer than ever before. The entry of Russian forces into Ukraine makes diplomacy more urgent, not less.  Yet British political leaders continue to denigrate diplomatic initiatives, even as the conflict intensifies.

Rather than refusing to talk with the Russian leadership, the US administration must get to the negotiating table, to address all the fundamental issues in this conflict, including how to make the Minsk agreements work. Rather than further escalating the  conflict and militarisation of the region, the US must  recognise the risk of nuclear war and do everything possible to  achieve a peaceful solution.

Read CND’s latest statement and take a look at Kate Hudson’s blog here
Read Labour CND’s statement on Nato here

Take action

>>> Join CND’s international rally, in partnership with Code Pink and Stop the War, on Saturday 26 February, No War in Ukraine, No to Nato
>>> Get a free No Nuclear War poster here
>>> Print you own window poster here

CND at 60: book launch

CND invites you to the launch of CND at 60, a new book by Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND.

This book is timed to coincide with CND’s 60th anniversary, drawing on archive material and interviews with activists from across the decades, and situating CND’s current work in the context of the Trump presidency and increasing global tensions around nuclear weapons.

Listen to Kate Hudson read from CND at 60 here:

Register for the event here.

London protest at Saudi Crown Prince visit

Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world. We don’t believe Britain should be selling arms to regimes like Saudi. But Prime Minister May has invited the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman to visit Britain. He’s be arriving this week and an ad hoc group including CAAT, Quakers, STW, Amnesty International, Peace Pledge Union, Arab Organisation for Human Rights and many others have organised a protest – see poster below for details.

Labour’s peace and disarmament policy misrepresented

And they actually think that nuclear weapons keep the peace?The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn support for nuclear disarmament began on day one of the election campaign.

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.

Continue reading “Labour’s peace and disarmament policy misrepresented”

Contemporary Motion for Labour Conference

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 info@labourcnd.org.uk

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.

Labour CND fringe meeting at Unite Conference

On Monday 11 July Labour CND will host a fringe meeting at the Unite Policy Conference on “Trident and Jobs: Truth and Myths”.

The fringe comes ahead of an anticipated debate on Trident at the Policy Conference and a vote in Parliament, which is expected before the end of the year.

You can see the flyer for the meeting, which will be addressed by Mick Burke, Kate Hudson, Hilary Wainwright and Labour National Policy Forum member Sim Elliott here.

Labour CND has also produced a newsletter to accompany the fringe meeting, which you can read here.