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Church of England bishops will call on Theresa May to surrender Britain's nuclear deterrent

June 15, 2018 1:05 PM
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The Church of England is to launch a fresh campaign for Britain to give up its nuclear weapons.

In a move approved by leading bishops, the Church is set to call for Theresa May to 'engage' with a treaty that would lead to a surrender of the nuclear deterrent.

The push comes 35 years after a bid by Left-wing bishops to support unilateral disarmament was firmly rejected by the Church's parliament, the General Synod.

The call will be led at a Synod in York next month by a motion from the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell.

It also has the support of leading clergy including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.

The motion will call on the Prime Minister to 'respond positively' to a UN treaty drawn up last year, which calls for all nations which have nuclear weapons to give them up.

A document published by the Church yesterday said that the Synod will 'examine whether Britain should sign the ban treaty and take more purposeful steps to dismantle its nuclear arsenal'.

It 'welcomes' the UN move and says churches should work for the 'elimination' of nuclear arms.

Church officials said yesterday that it is not promoting unilateralism and that its approach to nuclear weapons takes account of the view that they are necessary to maintain peace.

However, they acknowledged that the debate will give a platform to unilateralists.

Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth said: 'The Church of England's approach is completely irrelevant.


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