Church leaders across seven denominations have issued a statement following the publication of the UK Government’s integrated review of foreign and defence policies.
The Bishops’ Conference Chair of the International Affairs Department, Bishop Declan Lang, and the Lead Bishop on Peace and Disarmament Issues, Bishop William Kenney, have signed the statement.
“The Government’s decision in the integrated review of defence, security and foreign policy to increase the number of Trident nuclear warheads the UK can stockpile by more than 40 percent is a retrograde step that will not make any of us safer.
“Our Trident submarines already carry warheads that in total have an explosive yield equivalent to hundreds of the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima. It is immoral that the UK government is committing resources, which could be spent on the common good of our society, to stockpiling even more.
“Over the last 50 years, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has restricted the increase in the number of nuclear weapons worldwide as well as the number of new nuclear-armed states. This announcement puts those gains in jeopardy and weakens collective action on non-proliferation.
“Progress on reducing the threat from nuclear weapons will come through dialogue, diplomacy and principled action. The Government’s announcement today will complicate rather than aid this process.
“The entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition in of Nuclear Weapons is an encouraging development. As people of faith, we join with millions across the world who are working towards the elimination of nuclear arsenals.
“Living up to our responsibilities under the Non Proliferation Treaty would be a step towards realising that vision. We believe that ‘Global Britain’ should strive for peaceful and cooperative international relationships, and joint endeavour on climate change, global poverty and other challenges. This announcement takes us in a worrying and wholly wrong direction.”
The following Christian leaders signed the statement:
Most Revd and Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell
Archbishop of York
Most Revd John Davies
Archbishop of Wales
Revd Clare Downing
Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church
General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
Bishop William Kenney
Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham
International Affairs Department, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop Declan Lang
Bishop of Clifton, Chair, International Affairs Department
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Vice-President of the Methodist Church
Revd David Mayne
Moderator of the Baptist Union Council
Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Revd Dr Joanna Penberthy
Bishop of St Davids
Revd Richard Teal
President of the Methodist Church