Despite calls for a debate on the renewal of the Mutual Defence Agreement nuclear cooperation treaty with the USA, the Government has waved through a 10-year extension without informing Parliament, in what CND calls a contempt of Parliament and a travesty of democracy.
CND has slammed David Cameron’s ‘sinister sidestepping’ of Parliament over a secret, decade-long, nuclear agreement with the United States.
The amendment and extension of the Mutual Defence Agreement, which was first signed in 1958, is fundamental to the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system: allowing for the transfer of information relating to nuclear technology and US-UK collaboration over their nuclear weapons programmes.
Yet the British Government has not only denied Parliament the opportunity to discuss it, it will not even disclose the content of the agreement.
Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said:
‘Parliament has not been informed. Whitehall has remained silent. Yet David Cameron’s Government has just waved through a 10-year extension to a nuclear cooperation treaty with the United States.
‘The Mutual Defence Agreement flies in the face of the UK’s commitments as a signatory the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
‘The Government says the MDA is perfectly in keeping with its multilateral disarmament obligations: but then again they could say anything they want about the agreement, because they’re keeping the contents secret.
‘In no other area of government would such a sinister sidestepping of democratic process be tolerated.
‘The fact that we had to be told of our own Government’s actions through President Barack Obama’s words to Congress marks a dismal day for British democracy. It’s also a worrying sign of how the Government fights dirty when it comes to challenges to its talismanic nuclear weapons programme.’
Jeremy Corbyn MP, CND Vice-Chair, said:
‘The news that David Cameron has renewed the Mutual Defence Agreement with the United States shows he holds Parliament in contempt. The Treaty locks us into US foreign policy and military adventures and the nuclear weapon technology sharing it delivers exposes the lie that Trident is an independent weapon.
‘I, on behalf of Parliamentary CND, had requested a debate on the renewal of this treaty before it went through, yet the Prime Minister has carried it out in secret. No proposal has been put before the British Parliament. This is a travesty of democracy.’