NEW REPORT: Trident in UK Politics and Public Opinion

BASIC releases today a new report examining Trident in UK politics and public opinion on nuclear weapons, involving a comprehensive review of the polls over the last eight years and including two new polls released today. This comes on the eve of the publication of the government’s Trident Alternatives Report (TAR), to be published on Tuesday and debated in Parliament on Wednesday. The BASIC report is intended to complement the TAR with the political and public opinion context.

Dr. Nick Ritchie of the University of York, said: “Public opinion polls indicate a shift away from support of like-for-like replacement, especially when the cost of replacement is taken into consideration. But most strikingly, opinion on the matter is weak – this is not an issue the public generally rates as critical to their vote, giving Party leaderships the space to rethink UK nuclear weapons policy at this critical juncture.”

Paul Ingram, BASIC’s Executive Director and report co-author, said: “The UK is fast approaching critical major investment decisions, and the opportunity for the public to influence them is there for the first time in a generation.”

The Liberal Democrats, who have led the Alternatives Review in government, are in favour of moving towards a smaller, cheaper replacement of Trident which does not require continuous at sea deterrence (CASD). They are likely to debate the specifics at their mid-September Annual Conference in Glasgow. Their Conservative partners in government, however, remain committed to a like-for-like replacement of the current system and will resist any attempts to further delay or reduce the project. Labour is conducting its own defence review and has made explicit reference to the TAR and the BASIC Trident Commission final report (due for release in late 2013).

This new report reviews the almost two dozen polls that have been conducted since 2005 when the debate on Trident replacement began to gather momentum.

For more information on the Trident Alternatives Review, read BASIC’s recent guide, ‘Reading the findings of the UK Trident Alternatives Review’. BASIC will also be publishing its briefing on the Alternatives Review on its website tomorrow afternoon.

Nick Ritchie
Tel: +44 7919 310605
Email: [email protected]

Paul Ingram
Tel: +44 7908 708175 or +44 20 7766 3465 / 3461
Email: [email protected]


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