Author Archives: Kate Hudson

The Independent View: time to support the UN nuclear ban treaty

Less than a year ago, the United Nations’ nuclear weapons ban treaty opened for signature. States from across the world are stepping forward to sign up to prohibit nuclear weapons – over 60 on current count. This is a giant step forward on the road towards global abolition. The treaty follows decades of grassroots campaigning across the world – CND has been calling for a global ban on nuclear weapons since its founding in 1958 and we are delighted at the development.

Over one hundred countries are likely to sign the treaty, but will Britain make the most of this crucial …

Posted in Conference and The Independent View | Tagged and | 20 Comments

The Independent View: Trident: It’s time to make the right decision

At a time when the future of Britain’s nuclear weapons system is under intense scrutiny – not least due to the anti-Trident position of Labour’s new leader – it is good to see Lib Dem Conference once again at the cutting edge of debate on this crucial issue. In government, the Lib Dems did much to challenge the pro-Trident consensus of the main parties. It may not have been the full anti-Trident position that many of us would like, but the ‘no-like-for like’ position certainly helped open up the debate. Now it’s time to move onto the next stage. It’s a crucial time to get this policy right as parliament is expected to vote on Trident replacement in early 2016.

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The Independent View: It’s time to rethink Trident

Last year, Trident was a huge debate at the Lib Dem conference. It was an open, vibrant, genuine debate where differing views were passionately put. This year, Trident is nowhere to be seen in official conference business – even though the parliament elected in just a few months’ time will decide the future of Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

This seems a glaring omission for a party which has such a strong track record of engaging with this most important of Britain’s strategic defence questions. Indeed it is the only major Westminster party that – like the majority of the British population – recognises the importance of changing Britain’s nuclear weapons posture. And it has fought hard to do so. I’m sure no active Lib Dem member needs to be reminded how the party struggled to ensure that questioning the future of Trident was part of the coalition agreement and how Nick Harvey, as Defence Minister, made sure that alternatives to Trident were actually reviewed.

Posted in The Independent View | 27 Comments

The Independent View: An opportunity to direct the debate on Trident replacement

In September 2010, Lib Dem Voice ran a revealing poll of its members to gauge opinion on Trident. With results strikingly similar to YouGov polls of Lib Dem members nationally, it found that 57% were opposed to replacing Trident and nuclear weapons altogether, while 90% were opposed to replacing Trident with a ‘like-for-like’ system.

It was commendable that the Liberal Democrats carried this sentiment into their 2010 election manifesto: standing apart from the Conservative and Labour consensus of ploughing £100bn into nuclear weapons amidst the worst economic crisis of recent times.

Opponents of Trident outside the party were also inspired by …

Posted in Conference and The Independent View | Tagged and | 8 Comments

The Independent View: The Trident review risks being a damp squib

This week the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced a £1.1 billion contract with Rolls Royce for building nuclear submarine reactors. This has caused quite some controversy and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was immediately called to answer an Urgent Question in the Commons on the implications of this spending and whether it preempts a future decision on whether or not to replaceBritain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.

The contract itself will see £500m spent on the refurbishment of Rolls Royce’s Raynesway plant in Derby, while £600m will go on building new nuclear reactor cores to powerBritain’s submarines. Most of these will be …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Tagged and | 4 Comments

The Independent View: Dropping the bomb

A report launched this week caught the headlines by describing the replacement of Trident as “nonsensical”.

“Replacing Trident makes no sense” said the BBC, while the Guardian led with “Trident nuclear deterrent upgrade ‘nonsensical’”.

But they were not quoting the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or any other campaigning organisation. Rather, they were quoting the liberal thinktank CentreForum, which David Cameron has previously commended “for their excellent work”.

Nick Clegg has also indicated the policy significance of CentreForum: “Many of the policy areas my party is implementing in government were developed, tested and refined through dialogue with the CentreForum team.”

The …

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The Independent View: MoD suppresses Lib Dem review and spending information on Trident ahead of Parliamentary decision

Liberal Democrats can be rightly proud of their record on challenging like-for-like Trident replacement and keeping Britain’s nuclear weapons near the top of the political agenda – certainly during the last general election campaign. But now it looks as though their coalition partners are moving to stifle the gains they have made. Not only has the Defence Secretary announced the suppression of the Lib Dem-led Trident Alternatives Review. He is also making a mockery of the delayed Trident replacement decision – scheduled for 2016 – by committing to spend £6 billion before that decision date. This is hardly fair play …

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The Independent View: Alternatives to Trident replacement must include the possibility of no nuclear weapons

Since Liam Fox made his announcement last week that while Trident replacement design is going ahead, the Lib Dems will also be looking at alternatives, there has been a flurry of derision about the latter initiative. Most obviously this comes from Liam Fox and the hard–line pro-nuclear lobby who just want to rubbish it. But criticism of Lib Dem efforts also comes from some anti-nuclear quarters and I am not convinced that this is totally reasonable.

From my point of view, it would be very easy to have a pop at the Lib Dem leadership for not backing CND’s maximum programme …

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The Independent View: We cannot have back-door Trident replacement

Delaying the decision, on whether or not to replace Trident, until 2016, has been the best bit of news to come out of the coalition government. This was announced, to the delight and relief of many, in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) last October.Of crucial importance, it makes Trident a general election issue – a fact, as Nick Harvey has stated, ‘of huge political significance’. Indeed, it holds out the possibility of defeat for a new generation of nuclear weapons. Given that the majority of the population has for some time backed scrapping Trident, this …

Posted in The Independent View | Tagged , , , and | 21 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael BG 19th Sep - 1:11am
    I voted against this policy. I also put in a card to speak against it. With regard to the debate I think 18 people spoke,...
  • User AvatarGaryE 19th Sep - 12:19am
    Latest Westminster Voting Intention in The Times tonight CON: 32% (=) LDM: 23% (+4) LAB: 21% (-2) BXP: 14% (=) GRN: 4% (-3) Via @YouGov....
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 18th Sep - 11:52pm
    Frankie: "We are at the end game, time has run out, ... a solution in 12 days ( no chance), which leaves revoke or leave...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 18th Sep - 11:42pm
    Alex Macfie: "Some people here seem to think that if we play by Marquess of Queensberry rules, then our opponents will somehow be inspired to...
  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 18th Sep - 11:31pm
    Tony H - This is helpful. As often happens we got to the right place but not by the best route. My own feeling is...
  • User AvatarRoss McLean 18th Sep - 11:21pm
    Jamie - there's one more argument we can make against the Tories when they accuse us of being undemocratic. "Undemocratic? You've got a nerve. Your...
Thu 10th Oct 2019