'We must strive for peace' Church leaders slam Trident nucelar warhead expansion

'We must strive for peace' Church leaders slam Trident nucelar warhead expansion

CHURCH leaders across seven denominations have issued a statement following the publication of the UK Government's integrated review of foreign and defence policies.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference Chair of the International Affairs Department, Bishop Declan Ronan Lang, and the Lead Bishop on Peace and Disarmament Issues, Bishop William Kenney, have both signed the statement along with other church leaders.

Their statement reads: "The Government's decision in the integrated review of defence, security and foreign policy to increase the number of Trident nuclear warheads the UK can stockpile by more than 40 per cent is a retrograde step that will not make any of us safer.

"Our Trident submarines already carry warheads that in total have an explosive yield equivalent to hundreds of the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima,” they add.

“It is immoral that the UK government is committing resources, which could be spent on the common good of our society, to stockpiling even more.”

The faith leaders went on to suggest that the latest government move would undo much good work done to date to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in existence around the world.

"Over the last 50 years, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has restricted the increase in the number of nuclear weapons worldwide as well as the number of new nuclear-armed states,” they explain.

“This announcement puts those gains in jeopardy and weakens collective action on non-proliferation.

"Progress on reducing the threat from nuclear weapons will come through dialogue, diplomacy and principled action. The Government's announcement will complicate rather than aid this process.

Their statement concluded by saying: "Living up to our responsibilities under the Non Proliferation Treaty would be a step towards realising that vision.

“We believe that 'Global Britain' should strive for peaceful and cooperative international relationships, and joint endeavour on climate change, global poverty and other challenges.

“This announcement takes us in a worrying and wholly wrong direction."