LETTER: Labour did oppose N-tests

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From Ms Joyce Quin, MP

Sir: I was very surprised to read your editorial (8 September) criticising the Labour Party for failing to speak out against French nuclear tests in the Pacific.

The truth is that Labour has been active on this matter from the outset. Robin Cook wrote a strong article criticising the tests in July, issued a joint statement with the Australian and New Zealand Labour parties about them in August and has organised a national petition against them. Furthermore, both Tony Blair as leader of the party and David Clark as Shadow Defence Secretary have issued strong statements and we have all given interviews on the subject.

We are now urging the Foreign Secretary to speak out about this matter at the EU General Affairs Council this weekend and believe he has a duty to do so because of the fact that the Pitcairn Islands, a British dependency which therefore counts as part of the EU, are the nearest EU territory to the test site. Given our close ties with Australia and New Zealand, it is also important for the Government to act within the EU to ensure that good relations between Europe and them are restored.

We believe that the Government has been supine on this matter and we will continue to draw attention to its failure to respond to the widespread alarm and concern which these tests have engendered.

Yours faithfully,

Joyce Quin

MP for Gateshead East


House of Commons

London, SW1

8 September

The writer is Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs.