On 18 June I e-mailed my local MP, Chris Grayling - who is also the Cabinet Minister in charge of organizing Parliamentary business – pointing out I just heard him say in his role as Leader of the House in weekly Parliamentary Business questions, that he is in favour of replacing Trident, ands and invited him as a constituent, to comment on my letter below, and the pro nuclear disarmament comments of his ministerial colleagues
Former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox's somewhat hysterical view that we risk being left in a "heap of cinders" unless we maintain "strong nuclear deterrent" (Report, 17 June) is contradicted by the current Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who told MPs in a Parliamentary debate on Trident earlier this year "Government shares the vision of a world that is without nuclear weapons, (20 January) and just last month foreign office minister Tobias Ellwood said in a statement the "Government retains a commitment to a world without nuclear weapons following the end of the month-long review conference of the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in New York (foreign Office Press release 23 May).
Dr Fox is out of touch, locked into an old fashioned world view, and needs to modernize his thinking.
“Thank you for your message. I don't see any contradiction. Obviously, we would all like a nuclear-free world but until that appears to be an achievable goal, we believe it is absolutely vital that we maintain a continuous independent nuclear deterrent as the ultimate guarantee of our national security.( my emphasis)To which I responded as follows:
“ You may be aware that the UK is both a signatory of, and depository state for, the 1968 Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which closed its most recent month-long quinquennial review conference last month at the UN in New York.
NPT article 6 requires each signatory state (including each nuclear weapons state) to undertake:to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament...
Fred (later Lord) Mulley, as the UK Government's disarmament minister, addressed the plenary meeting of the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENDC) in Geneva in early 1968, explaining why nations should sign up to the newly negotiated NPT, telling the ministerial delegations:"As I have made clear in previous speeches, my government accepts the obligation to participate fully in the negotiations required by [NPT] Article VI and it is our desire that these negotiations should begin as soon as possible and should produce speedy and successful results. There is no excuse now for allowing a long delay to follow the signing of this treaty." (emphasis added)
This is the reason why contemporary nuclear-armed UK governments cannot continue to postpone the moment to start the promised nuclear disarmament negotiations embedded in the treaty text.
185 non-nuclear states parties to the NPT, including Iran, have stuck to their non-nuclear obligations. Each of the P5 nuclear-armed states have been in breach since 1970, when the NPT entered into forceThat is why your assertion to me is wrong.
I would appreciate your considered response in light of this information, of which you appear to be unaware.”I await his next response with interest.