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Home  >  News  >  Church and Society Convener Condemns Trident Vote

News

Church and Society Convener Condemns Trident Vote

Tuesday July 19

The convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland has described last night’s vote to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system as ‘regrettable’, and the weapons themselves as ‘abhorrent’.

MPs voted by 472 votes to 117 to replace the four submarines that carry nuclear warheads, at a current estimated cost of £31bn. During the five-hour debate preceding the vote, new Prime Minister Theresa May said she would be willing to authorise a nuclear strike that could kill 100,000 people.

The Rev Dr Richard Frazer said: "It is regrettable that the first significant debate in the Houses of Parliament following the appointment of our new Prime Minister and the vote to exit the EU should be one to renew our nuclear deterrent.

"As we seek to redefine our relationship to Europe and the wider world at this challenging time, a decision to renew an indiscriminate weapons system hardly seems the most auspicious beginning and is being rushed through with little opportunity for reflection or wider discussion.”

All MPs for Scottish constituencies voted against the renewal, except Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell.

Dr Frazer said that it was ‘a Scottish issue’, as the submarines will be based at Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde, and the Scottish Government opposes Trident.

He added: "We would urge the Prime Minister to reconcile her wish to be the leader of a One Nation Union with the strongly-held perspectives of people in Scotland which have been neither recognised nor respected in this debate.

"In addition we would ask the Prime Minister to set out how the UK Government intends to be true to Britain’s disarmament obligations under the “Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty”, and what action she will be taking to reassure other nations of the UK’s continued commitment to disarmament.

"Parliamentarians who voted for this need to justify to their communities why they have supported such a massive expenditure of public funds on weapons of mass destruction when health, education, infrastructure, social security and the conventional armed forces are reeling from the effects of years of austerity.

"Since 1982, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has deplored the use, through threat or deployment, of nuclear weapons.

"The scale and indiscriminate nature of the destruction caused by any nuclear weapons system renders it illegal.

"Nuclear missiles fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants and they wreak widespread, long-term and severe damage on the natural environment.

"Such weapons are abhorrent and any decision to renew the Trident system should have been taken after deep and mature reflection.

"As Christians we are called to be peacemakers and yet ‘peace’ that is kept through the indiscriminate threat of mass destruction could not be further from the peace that Christ calls us to.”

Read the full statement on the Church of Scotland website


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