83% Labour voters support total global nuclear weapons ban

Elliot Chappell

New polling commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and carried out by research organisation Survation has revealed that 83% of Labour voters support a “total ban on all nuclear weapons globally”.

The research has been published as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which outlaws the development, possession, and deployment of nuclear weapons by signatories, comes into force in international law today.

The UK government has repeatedly opposed the TPNW, but the polling released this morning found that 59% of the British public think the UK should sign up to the new UN treaty while 77% support a total global ban on nuclear weapons.

The research suggests that the strong support among the general public and Labour voters for a complete ban is shared by Tory voters, with the survey showing that 71% of those who support the Conservatives in government back a ban.

CND has highlighted that both the UK signing the TPNW and a total nuclear ban has a majority of support across all demographics: age, regions and nations, education level, income bracket, and 2019 general election and 2016 EU referendum vote.

Vice president of CND Jeremy Corbyn MP said: “The majority of British people understand that nuclear weapons are both a threat to the future of humanity and a grotesque waste of money that could be used wisely to provide real security.

“We must all step up our campaigning efforts to force the British government to sign the ban treaty. And we must step up our campaigning for an end to Trident, with defence diversification and job security.”

Within the 59% of the general public who support the UK signing up to the TPNW, 50% of Conservatives supporters and 68% of Labour voters back the government becoming a signatory to the international treaty.

Commenting on the polling published this morning, CND general secretary Kate Hudson declared: “We already know that the vast majority of countries globally are in favour of the UN’s nuclear ban treaty.

“But this polling shows that by refusing to sign or even engage with the treaty, the government is standing against not only the majority of UN-member states, but the public opinion of its own citizens.

“The government should cease its intransigence and engage constructively with this new treaty – including the provisions which allow the UK to sign up while submitting a time-constrained plan for disarmament.”

The TPNW, approved by the 193-member UN general assembly by a vote of 122 in favour, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with a goal of leading towards their elimination.

It requires that all countries that ratify the treaty “never under any circumstances … develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”.

The treaty was approved by the UN general assembly in 2017. The five nuclear powers (including the UK) and India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, which are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons, boycotted negotiations.

The international agreement needed 50 countries to sign up before triggering the threshold for legal entry into force. The final countries to join the multilateral nuclear disarmament agreement were Honduras, Jamaica and Nauru in October 2020.

Shortly before this threshold was reached last year, the US, Russia, China, Britain and France along with other NATO allies urged other nations not to sign the treaty, warning that it “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament”.

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