Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 741 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.
Nuclear weapons have always been a tricky issue for Liberal Democrats. In Bournemouth last year, the vote on whether to renew Trident was knife-edge close. We’ve been fudging the issues for years and the day of reckoning approaches. The Bournemouth debate resulted in a working group being set up to fully investigate the possibilities. They outline five options in a consultation paper here.
The first 3 options provide for some sort of nuclear weapon. They are supported by 59.11% but only 23.62% support like for like replacement.
Continue with the successor programme to Trident 23.62%
Contingency posture (partial replacement) 25.37%
Airborne Deterrent 10.12%
The two options which don’t involve having nuclear weapons are supported by 40.89%
Virtual capability 9.31%
Zero option 31.58%
Does this mean that the divide is growing? We’ll have to wait till Spring Conference in York to find out.
Here are some of the comments people made:
I do not believe in unilateral disarmament. I want nuclear weapons banned but we need in the meantime a viable deterrent to have something to bargain with.
Nuclear weapons are a worthless exercise in posturing as though UK were still a significant world power. We are not, and we have better uses for the money we’d save.
Only multi-lateral disarmament will be accepted by the public. Labour position is another nail in their electoral coffin.
I used to be a unilateralist but the prospect of a Trump White House makes a pretty persuasive case for not trusting in the US to provide our defence in future. I’d like to see cost savings though.
We do not know what will happen tomorrow let alone in years to come. Previous disarmament such as before 1939 (World War II) led to the war as the enemy did not think we would defend ourselves and when we did we were unprepared, costing huge loss of life and 6 years of horror.
We can either have a popular policy that is too expnsive or a cheaper unpopular and unworkable position
I would hope that no Lib Dem prime minister would order a retaliatory strike against civilian populations, even in response to a nuclear strike against the UK. On that basis the money would be better spent on our conventional forces or other sectors in dire need of funding.
- 2,200+ Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 741 completed the latest survey, which was conducted between 13-15 September 2016
- Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. The surveys are, though, the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country.
- We have been able to test the LibDemVoice surveys against actual results on a handful of occasions. It correctly forecast the special Lib Dem conference would overwhelmingly approve the Coalition Agreement in May 2010. In the 2008 and 2010 elections for Lib Dem party president, it correctly predicted the winner. However, in the 2014 election it didn’t; see here for my thoughts on this.
- Polling expert Anthony Wells has written about the reliability/validity of LibDemVoice surveys here.
- The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings