The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today strongly rejected ex-Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth’s criticism of CND, describing it as ‘unfounded’ and ‘ill-informed’.
At a fringe meeting [note 3] at the Labour Party Conference where Trident was hotly discussed, Bob Ainsworth stated that “People like CND have to be prepared to engage with the issue and not just repeat slogans from the 1960s when a consultation process comes up”.
CND regrets the fact that Bob Ainsworth appears to be uninformed about an issue which was central to his brief when Defence Secretary. In the period before, during and after the parliamentary vote on Trident replacement in March 2007, CND produced the following materials and also gave oral evidence to three Defence Select Committee Inquiries into Trident Replacement on the invitation of its Chair, James Arbuthnot MP:
March 2006: The Future of the Strategic Nuclear Deterrent (Submission to Defence Committee Inquiry) November 2006: The Alternative White Paper: Safer Britain, Safer World (Delivered to 10 Downing Street) December 2006: An Urgent Need for Arms Conversion (Response to the Defence Committee Report) March 2007: The Cost of British Nuclear Weapons (Sent to MPs) April 2007: Opposing nuclear rearmament (Report to the NPT Preparatory Committee, Vienna) May 2007: No Trident Replacement Briefing (Sent to MPs) CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: “It is astonishing that a shadow Defence Secretary should be so ill-informed about a debate so central to his remit. His lack of knowledge has led him to make unfounded criticisms of CND which have sunk to the level of caricature. CND has produced extensive amounts of well-researched documentation on the subject of Trident and its replacement, much of the data in which are based on parliamentary answers from Mr Ainsworth’s predecessors and senior colleagues. CND was also pleased to give oral evidence to three Defence Committee Inquiries into Trident.
“I am today resending six major documents from CND to Mr Ainsworth so he can fully understand CND’s analysis and critique of nuclear weapons. We hope this will prove useful to him in the new political context, where Labour’s new leader Ed Miliband has clearly stated that he believes Trident should be in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. It is time for old prejudices to be put aside.”