By Roger Bagley in Parliament in Britain:
Activists urge Hague to drop hypocrisy
Monday 19 December 2011
Peace campaigners urged the government to abandon its double standards over nuclear weapons in Britain and North Korea today.
Foreign Secretary William Hague declared that the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il could lead to a “turning point” in the quest for a nuclear weapons ban across the Korean peninsula.
Mr Hague said that Britain would encourage the country’s new leadership to “engage with the international community” and take part in resumption of six-party talks on de-nuclearisation of the peninsula.
Left MP Jeremy Corbyn said he would welcome the resumption of six-party talks and a nuclear-free Korea.
But he denounced the British government for its hugely expensive plans for Trident nuclear missile and submarine replacement.
“There is utmost hypocrisy in a nuclear-armed state proposing to spend over £70 billion on a new nuclear weapons system for which there is no justification on moral or financial grounds,” he said.
CND general secretary Kate Hudson said: “I share the Foreign Secretary’s sentiments about de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
“I would urge him to pledge the same approach to the de-nuclearisation of Britain as part of progression toward a nuclear-free world.”
Mr Corbyn protested in the Commons that £5 billion would be spent on Trident replacement even before the final “main gate” decision on the project’s future is taken in 2016.
Defence Minister Peter Luff insisted that total secrecy must surround the Trident alternatives review, set up to please the Lib Dems.
The review would go to the Prime Minister and Deputy PM “towards the end of next year,” said Mr Luff.
He added: “There are therefore no plans to publish either the report or the information that it draws upon.”
Britain: Newly released documents show that Margaret Thatcher pressed ahead with Trident despite opposition from two-thirds of her cabinet: here.