'NUCLEAR ARMS SAFETY'

Sunday Times – 26 March 2006

THE chairmen of CND and the British Pugwash Group assert that renewing our nuclear deterrent after Trident would break the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but as always it is quoted selectively (Letters, last week).

Article VI of the NPT commits the signatories “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date, and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. Only the first provision is time-limited – and Britain, by following a policy of minimum strategic deterrence, has never been involved in a nuclear arms race. The rest of the Article commits us to the creation of a world free both of nuclear weapons and of conventional weapons as well – an aspiration many would regard as utopian.

There is nothing requiring us to achieve a nuclear-free world prior to achieving an arms-free world too. This is just as well, as to achieve the one without achieving the other would simply make the world safe once again for conventional war between the major powers.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP

Shadow Defence Minister
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA