After failing to give nurses an extra £4 per week, the government has found billions to breach Article 6 of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and £2.6m for a vanity studio
Campaigners and experts have warned that Boris Johnson’s plan to increase the size of the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile amounts to a violation of international law.
The government’s integrated defence review said the UK would be lifting the cap on its nuclear arsenal by 40%, to 260 warheads.
The UK had previously been committed to cutting its stockpile to 180 warheads by the mid-2020s, but the review said this policy would be changed “in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats”.
The announcement comes despite the UK being a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which commits the government to gradual nuclear disarmament under international law – a policy previous administrations have stuck to.
Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said “I voted for the renewal of Trident and the Labour Party’s support for nuclear deterrence is non-negotiable – but this review breaks the goal of successive prime ministers and cross-party efforts to reduce our nuclear stockpile… It doesn’t explain when, why, or for what strategic purpose.”
The Labour leader added: “From Europe to the Indian Ocean, this government now has a reputation for breaking international law, not defending it.”
Reacting to the new policy, Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said: “A decision by the United Kingdom to increase its stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the middle of a pandemic is irresponsible, dangerous and violates international law.”
This will put Britain in violation of its Article 6 obligations.
“While the British people are struggling to cope with the pandemic, an economic crisis, violence against women, and racism, the government chooses to increase insecurity and threats in the world. This is toxic masculinity on display.
While the majority of the world’s nations are leading the way to a safer future without nuclear weapons by joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the United Kingdom is pushing for a dangerous new nuclear arms race.”
To add further insult to the underpaid NHS workers, a former courtroom has been pointlessly transformed into a White House-style briefing centre, with Tory blue partly covering the wood-panelled walls despite it being a government project costing the taxpayer £2.6m.
SNP deputy Westminster leader, Kirsten Oswald, said: "It beggars belief that Boris Johnson is wasting millions of pounds of public money on ugly Tory vanity projects, and a luxury refurbishment of his apartment, at the same time as imposing a public sector pay freeze, cuts to Universal Credit and tax rises for millions of workers… Yet again, the Tories are revealing themselves to be arrogant and completely out of touch.”
Considering all of the set designers, builders and theatre staff currently at risk of unemployment and experiencing financial hardship, I was shocked when it emerged the set was made by a Russian-owned company.
It just goes to show that the taxpayers’ money pot is as big as they need it to be, but only for the stuff that they want.