Former Calderdale councillor loses 'Scrap Trident' bid at Liberal Democrat conference (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Former Calderdale councillor loses 'Scrap Trident' bid at Liberal Democrat conference
4:51pm Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
An anti-nuclear campaigner helped stoke a revolt that came close to committing the Liberal Democrats to scrapping Trident today.
Former Calderdale Council leader Dr Mick Taylor made a passionate speech urging Lib Dem colleagues at the Glasgow conference to adopt the radical policy.
He said he had been campaigning against nuclear weapons for the entire 50 years he had been a member, including of the predecessor Liberal party.
And he said: “We are no nearer nuclear disarmament today than we were when I joined the party back in 1964. It’s time to do something about it.
“I'm a Quaker. I'm a pacifist. I don't want to spend money on war. I want to use diplomacy to solve things. Diplomacy makes peace - nuclear arms can lead to war.”
Dr Taylor added: “Let's stop threatening people with annihilation. And let’s have proper nuclear disarmament.”
The conference chairwoman ordered a card vote when there was a mass show of hands in favour of scrapping – rather than replacing – Trident.
Such a vote would have created a major headache for Nick Clegg, who boasts that the Lib Dem conference – alone among the big parties – decides policy for the leadership.
In the end, the call for unilateralism was lost by 322 votes to 228 and the conference instead backed of a reduction in the number of Trident submarines, Mr Clegg’s favoured policy.
The 60-year-old policy of continuous at-sea patrols would end with submarine numbers cut from four to either two or three.
The Lib Dems argue this would represent a “step down the nuclear ladder” but the Conservatives have condemned what they call a “part-time deterrent”.
The Tories have also ridiculed the idea of the subs being sent to sea unarmed, their arsenal to be redeployed in periods of increased tension only.
Because of the clash, a decision on Trident has been delayed until after the 2015 general election.
Dr Taylor was leader of Calderdale council for two years and stood as the Lib Dem candidate in the Leeds Central seat in 2010.
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