'BE NOT DECEIVED: LABOUR WILL DISARM'

Daily Telegraph – 15 August 1990

You report (August 13) that "only a handful of motions" tabled for Labour's next annual conference demand "a return to the old unilateralist position". This suggests that even your political staff believe that the party has finally embraced the nuclear deterrent. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On page 87 of Labour's 88-page policy review document Meet the Challenge, Make the Change, the following passage is to be found:

"Labour will immediately seek to place all of Britain's nuclear capability – including Polaris, and as much of Trident as has been completed – into international nuclear disarmament negotiations ... If the beginning of START 2 is subject to long delay, and there is good reason to believe that these negotiations will not make the progress we will require, a Labour government will reserve the option of initiating direct negotiations with the Soviet Union and/or with others in order to bring about the elimination of that capacity by negotiated and verifiable agreements. Our aim is to bring about the elimination of that capability." (My emphasis)

In other words, Labour's current policy is to negotiate away our entire nuclear deterrent in return for some Soviet reductions. Instead of giving up everything for nothing, Labour would bargain away everything for a fraction of the Soviet nuclear arsenal.

This process of one-sided nuclear disarmament is totally incompatible with the expressed wish of some 68 percent of the electorate, in numerous opinion polls, to maintain nuclear weapons as long as the Soviet Union has them.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Deputy Director
Conservative Research Department
London SW1