From Mr Rick Wayman.

Sir, The UK government continues to fail to make a decision that is legally, morally and rationally obvious (“The price of deterrence”, Analysis, January 9). When the UK signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty 45 years ago it committed to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”. The proposal to create a new generation of UK nuclear weapons that would be in service until 2060 – almost a century after making the promise to pursue nuclear disarmament – is a shocking demonstration of bad faith.

Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has said: “To plan a strategy around [nuclear] weapons is to be defeated by them. To threaten such an outrage against humanity and its world is to begin to lose one’s moral and human dignity. To work for a world free from nuclear arms is to work for the sake of that moral and human dignity.”

Numerous former UK cabinet ministers have taken a position in favour of nuclear disarmament after a career spent rationalising the continued possession of nuclear weapons. If the UK is serious about achieving prestige on the world stage, it should act as a leader by initiating negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention for the phased, verifiable, irreversible and transparent elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Rick Wayman, Director of Programs, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA, US

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