75% of Labour PPCs want Trident gone, poll finds

3rd March, 2015 2:12 pm

75% of Labour PPCs want to see Trident scrapped, according to information collected by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).


CND have surveyed 79 Labour prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) – which includes both current MPs and new candidates. Of those asked, 75%  said they wouldn’t vote to renew Trident. This is roughly a quarter more than those who said the same in a ComRes poll for the BBC Sunday Politics in September last year (which surveyed 73 people). Meanwhile, in the CND poll only 18% said they would vote for renewal.

There seems to be a strong feeling among these PPCs that nuclear weapons are a bad idea altogether. 89% of those surveyed said they either ‘somewhat agreed’ or ‘very much agreed’ that the next government should get rid of the country’s nuclear weapons, rather than replacing them with new ones.

Some of those on the list are more predictable than others; Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell are all long outspoken critics of nuclear weapons.

However, it’s likely that some new voices could be added to this cohort. Some of those who are against Trident are standing in safe Labour seats, where there’s currently an who has voted in favour of Trident in the past. One of these is Louise Haigh, who replaces Meg Munn in the Labour heartland, Sheffield Heeley. Haigh is likely to bring vocal opposition to the Commons:

“I’ve been a supporter of CND for a number of years, of course I’d want to see jobs protected by investment in other industries but I believe investment in nuclear is immoral in and of itself and in our current economic climate a dire waste of public resources. “

It’s likely that if she enters into the Commons she’ll do so with Richard Burgon, the PPC who’s standing in Leeds East (where George Mudie is currently the MP) and says that:

“For the sake of the whole of humanity and for the sake of generations still to come, we need to achieve a world free from nuclear weapons”.

But on the anti-Trident list there are also those who are standing in constituencies on Labour’s target seat list : Andrew Dismore (former LabourCND chair) who’s standing in Hendon, which is third on the list; Catherine West in Hornsey and Wood Green, who says we need “peaceful solutions to conflict”; Purna Sen, who’s taking on anti-Trident Green MP Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion; Alex Sobel in Leeds North West; and Nick Palmer, who could unseat Tory MP Anna Soubry in Broxtrowe.

This list also includes Clive Lewis, former soldier and BBC reporter, who’s standing in Lib Dem-held Norwich South: “renewing Trident would be a monumental mistake our country and planet can ill afford.”

Nancy Platts, the PPC for Tory/Labour marginal Brighton and Kemptown echoes Lewis’s sentiment, but highlights the moral and economic factors to consider:

I have always opposed nuclear weapons on moral grounds and I cannot support the renewal of Trident, even more so given the vast level of expenditure required.

There’s also a Scottish story in this. Among MPs north of the border Katy Clark, Ian Davidson and Mark Lazarowicz have stated their opposition to Trident. But there are also incumbents like Lesley Brennan who’s standing in the SNP-heartland Dundee East, laid out the economic arguments for scrapping Trident:

“Working as an economist, I forecast and analyse the short and long term impacts of decisions, and the best budget allocations. However, you don’t need to be an economist to know that the UK should not invest in a killing system over our kids’ future. I will not support the renewal of Trident.”

It’s well known that the SNP, who are likely to make substantial gains in Scotland at Labour’s expense are against Trident. A poll in January, carried out by Survation on behalf of the SNP found that 47% were against the renewal of Trident, while 31% were for it. Although opposition to Trident isn’t guaranteed to sway potential SNP voters in Labour’s favour, it could do some good.

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  • Tommo

    Given the level of uncertainty in the Middle East and eastern Europe. This is not the time to cut our defences !

    • Doug Smith

      “uncertainty in the Middle East”

      Ah yes, the Bush/Blair legacy.

      And then there’s the Miliband-backed disaster in Libya adding to the uncertainty.

      The armaments corporations and defence contractors must be very happy.

      • bikerboy

        Like we all know what the answer is… Saddam gassing his own people, Assad likewise plus barrel bombs, Gadaffi’s prisons. What would you do? They could try helping themselves with their own Magna Carta or something.

        • Doug Smith

          I wouldn’t initiate mayhem-instigating intervention.

          • bikerboy

            Then what would you do?

  • bikerboy

    CND still exists?

    Is Putin also getting rid of his nukes? Thought not… his planes sauntering around Europe. Will Iran have nukes in the future?

  • Steve Stubbs

    CND publishes a poll supporting them. Well, who would have believed it!

    Bears/woods springs to mind.

    For goodness sake don’t let the leader of the green party get involved in this discussion, otherwise we will have the general public demanding they be sold in Tesco and Asda.

  • Doug Smith

    “75% of Labour PPCs want to see Trident scrapped”

    That means that 75% of Labour PPCs are standing for the wrong party.

    • Michael Murray

      Yes, they are. They should leave and join the ineffectual, clueless Greens.

  • If true this would be terrifying. But it isn’t representative of Labour candidates as only 79 were surveyed and no sensible candidate would have responded to CND’s biased survey so it was the self-selected lunatic fringe of the Labour Party.

    • Mukkinese

      “Lunatic fringe”? “Terrifying”?

      Nukes are not a military deterrent anymore, they are just as likely to make us a target for dirty bombs or even illicit nukes as they are to have any protective value at this point. Can you really see any government using them?

      Their real value for politicians is to keep their seats on the top table of world politics. The truth is that better economic performance would do that job if any of the idiots who run our economy even had a clue…

  • Gary Pepworth

    Except they don’t. What an incredibly misleading headline. I bet Grant Shapps is rubbing his hands with glee that have you provided him with a quote to use against us.

    • Michael Murray

      Yes. I thought this was a Labour minded site. The last time I listened Labour’s policy was to renew Trident.

      • treborc1

        Labour or Blue labour.

  • barry

    This may only be a CND-inspired survey of a limited number of candidates but it’s still extremely worrying. It really does raise the extremely worrying spectre of Labour doing some shady backroom deal over Trident with other parties after May. Ed Miliband seems keen to promote “red lines” over some policies (the meaningless and ill-conceived promise to cut tuition fees for example). Labour members need to be reassured before the election that Trident renewal is our firm and irrevocable policy and that it won’t be available for barter.

    • g978

      Exactly. On real matters of principle he is quiet. I suspect Miliband would like to not renew Trident. I am sure the excuse of “saving”money will be used, when he hasn`t come up with any other ways of trimming public spending.

    • Michael Murray

      Caroline Flint has assured us on Question Time that it is not Labour’s policy to abandon Trident.

  • Jane Manby

    Lets be honest here views like that have a habit of dissipating once PPCs become MPs

    • Mukkinese

      Thing is though, who really cares or knows the full consequences of a decision either way?

      Some Scots care for sure, but do they know why? Getting rid of Trident will cost jobs, there can be no doubt about that and it will also save a lot of money. Fine.

      What will the political repercussions be?

      Personally, I think the deterrent value has long since passed it’s sell-by date, but clearly there is some political value.

      Will that cost us if we lose Trident? Could we share nukes with Europe as a whole? i.e. any nuclear attack on any European state will be responded to with nukes?

      Right now the whole debate is still at the sloganeering level…

      • treborc1

        Costing jobs maybe but would you rather have a nuke sitting in your docks if we did ever go to war … in the year 3546 AD.

    • treborc1

      Yes well said, once if they normally become part of the establishment

  • David H

    Some good news for once…

    • Michael Murray

      No. Madness. We will give up our nuclear deterrent when Iran is close to acquiring its nuclear bomb. We might as well surrender now if that’s the mainstream party’s view. I attempted to campaign for the party when our manifesto was the longest suicide note in history and we pledged to give up the nuclear deterrent. I thought it was wrong and politically stupid then and I do now, even more so. I still bear the scars of that disastrous campaign.

      • Mukkinese

        What a silly argument.

        Do you really think that Iran would seriously threaten the U.K. with a nuke? That is idiocy.

        Firstly, Israel would obliterate them if they even thought that Iran was serious about using a nuke. Secondly, Nato would not stand still for such a threat and third, the rest of Europe, not to mention the rest of the world, might become somewhat concerned, don’t you think?

        Even the maddest of mullahs would not be so dumb.

        What we need is a combined European nuclear deterrent. And that is more for it’s political value than any military value…

        • Michael Murray

          So, we would stand by and refuse to dirty our hands with nuclear weapons whilst we would be relying on Israel to protect us from fundamental Islamists with nuclear weapons. What kind of a stupid policy is that?

          • treborc1

            Almost as daft as you.


        God help Germany then! (and the many EU countries without a nuclear deterrent).

        • Michael Murray

          Yes, God help them! That’s why they are so glad that Britain is a member of NATO and we will be able to protect them from Nuclear blackmail by Islamist terrorists with a dirty bomb!

          • treborc1

            The only dirty bomb is in your mind, so somebody in the UK sets off some dirty bomb and we nuke whom you pratt.

  • KC Gordon

    The truth is it is not an ‘independent deterrent’ – Trident missiles can not be fired without American agreement – so what is the point?

    • treborc1

      Yes they can since the American left the UK with it’s nukes way back when, they also handed over the firing codes , it does not take long to look to see.

  • Lawrence

    Get rid of Tridant and get out of that terrorist organisation called NATO. Forward to peace and socialism.


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