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DIRECT action could be launched over the government’s “dangerous” decision to increase its cap on nuclear warheads by almost half, campaigners warned today.
The integrated review raises the limit on the number of Trident missiles that can be stored from 180 to 260. It signals an end to 30 years of gradual nuclear disarmament in Britain.
The 44 per cent increase is also the biggest by any nation since the cold war, according to Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Pacifist group Peace Pledge Union warned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cap increase will be met by “widespread resistance, including non-violent direct action.”
Global Justice Now campaigns and policy manager Daniel Willis accused Mr Johnson of harbouring a “schoolboy view of foreign policy and deluded imperial fantasies.”
He said: “This review is taking us back to the cold war, treating international policy as a zero-sum game and embarking on a new wave of colonial sabre-rattling and nuclear militarisation.”
Green MP Caroline Lucas accused Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab of “breathtaking hypocrisy” for saying that “weapons proliferation in other countries keeps him awake at night” but then “trying to justify” Britain’s nuclear weapons proliferation.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) UK joint co-ordinator Dr Rebecca Johnson said that the “dangerous decision” to increase the cap would undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Downing Street has denied.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman added: “The 260 figure is a ceiling, not a target. We will continue to keep this under review in the light of the international security environment and make adjustments as appropriate.”
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) general secretary Kate Hudson said that Britain does not need “grandiose, money-wasting spending on weapons of mass destruction.”
The CND will hold an emergency online rally on Wednesday evening at 6pm. Sign up here: mstar.link/CNDonlinerally.
In the Commons, senior back-bench Tory MPs today pressured Mr Johnson to work with the US to “call out” China, after the integrated review document listed China and Russia as threats to Britain.
However, a European Council on Foreign Relations survey found that more than half of Britons (58 per cent) said they would like the government to remain neutral in any conflict between the US and China.
And 56 per cent favoured neutrality in any conflict between the US and Russia.
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