'TRUTH ABOUT BLAIR'S NUCLEAR CHANGE'

Daily Telegraph – 23 September 1994

You entertainingly report Labour's admission that Tony Blair was, after all, a member of Parliamentary Labour CND in 1986, despite previous denials (September 19). Now we are told, in mitigation, that "while Mr Blair had been a member of Parliamentary CND, he had not been a member of the organisation nationally".

Your readers may wish to know the difference between the two: while national CND was committed to "the unilateral abandonment by Britain of nuclear weapons, nuclear bases and nuclear alliances", its parliamentary branch pressed for only the first two of these three aims.

So Mr Blair – and the other 132 Labour MPs then in Parliamentary CND – would have had us unconditionally abandoning our nuclear deterrent and throwing out NATO's cruise missiles, though hoping to remain in the alliance. All this was just a year before the Zero Option deal on intermediate-range nuclear forces which traded cruise for hundreds of Soviet SS-20s. The deal would have been impossible if we had listened to Mr Blair.

As for his allegedly having "played a role in the attempts to change Labour's policy on nuclear weapons away from one of unilateral nuclear disarmament", it was only after the most intense public pressure from Conservative Party chairmen Kenneth Baker and Chris Patten that Neil Kinnock conceded in 1991 that a future Labour government would keep some nuclear weapons as long as other countries had them.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Deputy Director
Conservative Research Department
London SW1