Most people in Britain oppose the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, a report shows. A survey of 1,000 adults for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) revealed that almost two out of three were against a new generation of nuclear missiles. CND said the result was a 5 per cent increase in public opposition to Trident replacement since a similar poll almost a year ago.
A 50,000-signature petition was handed in to 10 Downing Street yesterday as part of a campaign against Britain developing new nuclear weapons. Opposition to Trident replacement has prompted a 300 per cent increase in membership of CND, with Chancellor Gordon Brown's declaration of support for replacing the missile system accounting for a substantial rise in new membership requests.
Kate Hudson, chairwoman of CND, said: "People are increasingly seeing the reality of the situation that replacing Trident will start a new nuclear arms race. If Britain insists it needs nuclear weapons to ensure its security, other countries will conclude the same, leading to increased proliferation."
The poll and petition coincide with the 61st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which killed more than 140,000 people. CND said Britain's Trident system consisted of approximately 200 nuclear bombs, each eight times more powerful than the bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The Government has promised MPs that they will have the final say on whether to order a new generation of nuclear missiles, which would cost up to £25bn. To fight its case, CND has agreed a 50 per cent increase in staff levels and campaigning budget. But the Government has tried to head off the threat of a damaging political split by saying Britain's existing fleet of Trident submarines may be maintained beyond their original 25-year lifespan. It said last week that it "would be possible" to continue operating them.