We go to see Jess Phillips, MP for Yardley

Jess Phillips + HG CND for Blog Post (Dec 2015).JPG-cropped

Members of Hall Green CND with Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips outside Office

Jess Phillips outside her office

Following our visit to Roger Godsiff (MP for Hall Green) with a view to arranging a debate on Trident we dropped into to see Jess Phillips at her new permanent office on the Yardley Road in Acocks Green.   At another busy surgery session  (We have often noticed that being an MP is hard work!)  Ms Phillips was keen to emphasise that she grew up in a CND supporting household and that her parents were active in Kings Heath CND when she was young.  She agreed – indeed volunteered – that Trident is an expensive item, set to cost over 100 billion pounds in its lifetime, and noted that this would pay (for example) for all the nurses needed by the NHS at present.  However she is concerned about international security issues and describes Trident as ‘the nuclear ‘deterrent’.

She readily agreed to represent the Labour Party’s still pro-Trident policy position, and is willing to debate with Roger Godsiff on Trident at some time, early next year,  probably in February, when the parliamentary recess is on (She thought that might be easier for both herself and Mr Godsiff.)    We are grateful to Jess for being prepared to enter into the spirit of our democracy by taking part in a public debate on what is clearly at present a vital matter.

We would also like to take this opportunity of thanking both Jess and Roger for voting against the recently highly controversial parliamentary motion to bomb Syria.  This is an issue in which CND has taken some interest because there are still so many unanswered question.  We feel that there is always a danger that any military operations between countries could escalate to something much worse and in this case we also note the particular tensions between Russia and the West which have come into play.

Watch this space.  We will announce the date and the venue, for this debate, and the exact wording of the motion,  when these have all been arranged.  Meantime, we note that there has recently been quite a lot  general feeling expressed that there should be a formal Trident based discussion in the West Midlands soon.  With this in mind we are also pleased to announce that we now have the support of West Midlands CND who will assist with additional funding and publicity.

New Government and CND

Now that the dust has settled we thought we should offer a review of the situation vis-a-vis ourselves and the new Government.

There is now an outline of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition agreement up on the Liberal-Democrat website here.  The section on defence is interesting:

The Government will be committed to the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives.  We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.”
Sure it is not everything we asked for.  It is nothing like.  However, maybe this is a start.  The renewal of Trident to be ‘scrutinised’, the case for ‘alternatives’ is to continue to be made.  If we can actually reduce the cost and number of nuclear weapons,  rather than go on increasing, then there is a little chink of light at the end of the tunnel?  We would like to think so, although   National CND, at present,  is seeking  further clarifiation on the Liberal Democrat positiion here,  at  present.  See their website article: “Liberal Democrats must Clarify Coalition Agreement on Trident Replacement” here

The Lib-Dems are promising to “play a strong role in the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.”   CND will be monitoring this.

Locally, in our area of five constituences, the only change has been in connection with reorganised boundaries.  We retain the following MP’s whose views are listed on our Candidates Views posting: John Hemming (We should drop Trident, but retain a cheaper nuclear defence and puruse the NPT) Roger Godsiff (Several EDMs against Trident proposed in previous parliaments.), Lorely Burt (Has signed several EDMs against Trident) Steve McCabe (Strongly in favour of retaining Trident), Caroline Spelman (strongly in favour of retaining Trident).  We will continue to work and liase with sympathetic, or partially sympathetic MPs were possible, and hope to maintain a dialogue wiith those who are not sympathetic to our views.

Majority of British Population say No To Trident: Do Local Candidates Agree?

National CND has compiled a range of polls from a range of national newspapers – from The Independent to The Sunday People – take your pick.  The majority say no to Trident replacement.  Check it out here

What do YOUR local candidates think?  We are writing to all local candidates in the area we cover, and will be listing the results as they come in.  Watch this space.  You may also like to write to candidates yourself   There are helpful tips from National CND here If there is still no response from a candidate  in most cases this now means that the candidate has been approached, but has not yet responded.  You may wish to draw your own conclusions from that.

Yardley

John Hemming (Lib-Dem) – Sitting MP.  In email answer to the questions:

(1) Would you vote for or against Trident replacement?  John confirms that his is answer is against, and:

(2)  If elected will you back UK support for a nuclear weapons convention, John confirms his answer is yes.

He stresses that he is not a unilateralist, however.

Lynnette Kelly (Labour)? Has been asked for views, but not responded.

Meirion Jenkins (Conservative)? Has been asked for views, but not responded.

Selly Oak

James Burn (Green Party) Has stated in an email that he is very much against Trident replacement.

In answers to National CND said that if they were to be elected he would vote against the replacement of Trident
Said that if they were to be elected he would back UK support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, banning all nuclear weapons internationallyNigel Dawkins (Conservative)??

Steve McCabe (Labour) Known to support Trident Replacement.  For more information about Steve McCabe’s views see Voting Record on \’They Work for You\’

Dave Radcliffe (Lib-Dem) Has responded to a questions, in an email, as follows:

Question 1 (If elected would you vote for or against Trident replacement.)
The Lib Dem policy is that there should be no like-for-like
replacement of Trident and that Britain should adopt a cheaper, more
minimal system, should it prove necessary to maintain a nuclear
deterrent as a result of the Strategic Defence Review.

Question 2 (If elected will you back UK support for a nuclear weapon
convention?) We unequivocally support the goal of a world without
nuclear weapons, and we will continue to support steps toward such
multilateral disarmament.

Hall Green

Jo Barker (Conservative)?? Has been asked for views, but not responded.

Jerry Evans (Lib-Dem) is recorded as having supplied the following answers to National CN

Said that if he were to be elected he would vote against the replacement of Trident.  Given an unclear answer as to whether he would back UK support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, banning all nuclear weapons internationally

On the Convention they he said: It depends on the circumstances and detail

Roger Godsiff (Labour) (Sitting MP, currently for Sparkbrook constituency  boundaries being withdrawn.)

Information on National CND website for Roger Godsiff;

Roger Godsiff of the Labour Party has:
Said that if they were to be elected they would vote against the replacement of Trident
Said that if they were to be elected they would back UK support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, banning all nuclear weapons internationally

The following statement has also been agreed between Roger Godsiff and Hall Green CND: ‘Roger Godsiff has tabled five separate Early Day Motions on Trident (1422, 1957, 407, 340, 380)  These EDMs have, consistently, opposed the replacement of the Trident submarine system.  The expense is not justified, and it should be born in mind that the Vanguard class submarines currently carrying the missiles will remain usable until 2024. (1422, 407) Recent pressure on public finances (380) is also mentioned as a consideration.  Money saved could go on jobs, education, housing, sustainable energy etc.  Not replacing Trident would also enhance the UK’s influence at the UK Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to be held in May 2010 (380)  These weapons also do nothing to protect the UK against the threats of terrorism or climate change and may encourage non-nuclear states to develop their own systems (380).’

Salma Yaqoob (Respect – The Unity Coalition) has given the following answers to National CND:

Said that if they were to be elected they would vote against the replacement of Trident
Said that if they were to be elected they would back UK support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, banning all nuclear weapons internationally

Solihull

Lorely Burt (Lib-Dem) (Sitting MP) Known to oppose Trident.  Lorely has now supplied one of our supporters with a very detailed personal answer which can be downloaded as two pages:  Lorely Burt Trident Issue Letter p. 1 and Lorely Burt Trident Issue Letter p. 2 (This may be a little hard to read in its original form.  We suggest either clicking on the pages to enlarge, and then using the screen arrows to navigate,  or printing out.)

Sarah-Jayne Merill (Labour)?? Has been asked for views, but not responded.

Maggie Throup (Conservative)??

***

Meriden

Simon Slater (Lib-Dem) Has been asked for views, but not responded.

Nikki Sinclaire (UKCP)

Caroline Spelman (Conservative)  sent the following response, by email:

The Conservative Party position is clear – we are committed to keeping and
replacing the submarine-based nuclear deterrent and it is the only
programme that will be exempt from the defence review.  The new deterrent will
 enter service in the 2020s and will likely be in service until the 2050s.
No-one can predict what will happen over that time and the nuclear deterrent
serves as an insurance policy against nuclear blackmail.  It is also an unfortunate
reality that the proliferation of nuclear weapons remains a significant issue in
current international affairs.  The concerns shared by the international community
over North Korea and Iran illustrate this.  Given this reality we feel it would not
be wise to be contemplating scrapping our nuclear deterrent and we feel this expenditure
is crucial for the security of this country.

Elly Stanton (Green) Has been contacted.  No response.

Ed Williams (Labour)