Polmont Quakers blast UK Government for nuclear treaty snub

A campaigning Falkirk couple say they are disappointed the UK Government continues to possess nuclear weapons illegally following the UN Treaty of the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons becoming law.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 12:20 pm

The treaty, which came into force last week, has been signed and ratified by 51 countries, which is enough to make it an international law – meaning, from this month, countries like the UK and the USA which possess nuclear weapons will be acting illegally.

Falkirk Christ Church, in Kerse Lane, rang out its bells at noon last Friday to celebrate the passing of treaty.

One local group who could not hide its disappointment over the UK Government’s stance, was Polmont Quakers.

Cath and Richard Dyer mark the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons becoming law

The organisation works long term to tackle the root causes of violence with the aim of building a more just and peaceful world and it has long supported peace building and peace builders internationally in places like East Africa, Palestine and Israel.

Quaker member Dr Cath Dyer and her husband Dr Richard Dyer have been campaigning for years for nuclear disarmament. They had mixed feelings about the situation – welcoming the passing of the treaty, but not the UK Government’s response – or lack of response – to the document.

Cath said: “This is a huge step forward for the people who have been fighting for the abolition of nuclear weapons, but it’s been a big disappointment to us the countries which actually do possess nuclear weapons – including the UK Government, which keeps its nuclear weapons in Scotland – did not sign the treaty.

"We will now have to try and persuade the UK Government to follow the treaty and remind them they are now breaking international law by possessing these weapons.”

For those nations that are party to it, the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.

For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme.

Richard said: “I’m sure many people in Scotland are embarrassed to be part of a nation that has these terrible weapons of mass destruction.”