The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the United Reformed Church believe that it is undesirable for the UK to remain a nuclear weapons state. It is widely acknowledged that we live in an era in which no state has both the capacity and will to threaten the UK or its NATO allies with nuclear weapons. Even if uncertainty over emerging threats remains, the natures of threats to our national security are substantially more diverse today. These include the threat of terrorist action, cyber and other organised crime and pandemics.
It seems rather excessive that, while it is acknowledged that there are no hostile nuclear threats facing the UK, it is suggested we nevertheless need to have undetectable Trident missiles deployed twenty-four hours a day and seven days of every week.
The international community needs a master plan for a global route to zero. An analysis of the place of the UK within the road to zero would provide a firmer basis for an evaluation of the options with regard to the UK Trident renewal that it will face over the coming years. The UK Government should develop a twin track approach that enables discussion with policy think-tanks, academics and NGOs in order to raise awareness among MPs, members of political parties and the media. A world free of nuclear weapons can only be achieved if we develop technologies to support verification and can agree robust procedures for compliance. The UK could to work to ensure that the IAEA and other elements of the international verification are appropriately resourced and able to meet the challenge of providing assurance of state compliance ondisarmament and non-proliferation.
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