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MPs launch new Conscience Objection Bill

March 2nd 2016 marked 100 years since the first inclusive right of conscientious objection became law in the United Kingdom. To commemorate the centenary, the NGO Conscience: Taxes for Peace not War, hosted a discussion evening featuring MPs from three different parties and Sir Richard Jolly, a former United Nations Assistant Secretary General.

It also served as the launch of the 'Taxes for Peace Bill' legislation which would bring conscientious objection into the 21st century by allowing people who object to funding war to re-direct the military portion of their taxes to non-violent methods of sustaining our national security.

The Bill will be tabled later this year by Ruth Cadbury MP, a Quaker, members of whose family were World War I conscientious objectors. When talking about the Bill Ruth Cadbury said: "In an age where more and more people are concerned about spending their money ethically, this is an idea whose time has come." Ruth was joined by Liz Saville-Roberts MP, who spoke of the history of war resistance in Wales. Michelle Thomson MP then spoke of her opposition to war and nuclear weapons from a Scottish perspective. Kelvin Hopkins MP also gave a talk describing his four decades of peace campaigning. All of these MPs and more have pledged support of the Taxes for Peace Bill, and have also supported an Early Day Motion highlighting the issue. They were joined by Robin Brookes, a peace campaigner who has unsuccessfully attempted to prevent his taxes being spent on military activity both by withholding taxes and seeking a judicial review of the definition of CO status with respect to taxation.

Ruth Cadbury added: "I want to pay for our national security, in fact I want to strengthen it, the Taxes for Peace Bill does this by investing in the most effective form of defence – conflict prevention." http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22845

* For more details see Conscience website: http://ConscienceOnline.org.uk

The “No faith in Trident” Bruce Kent came to speak in Preston as part of his "Stop Trident Tour", we were encouraged by Bruce that it is possible to achieve if we continue campaigning and as a start encourage members of our church communities to write to our MP. A very helpful resource is the briefing paper from Pax Christi "The Catholic Church and Nuclear Weapons"

Write a letter to your MP and if possible meet them local surgeries.   (Hints to help writing letter)

Put an end to recruitment of 16 year olds into the UK armed forces: Why is it that in 2014 the UK is the only country in Europe and the only counry among the permanent members of the UN Security Council to recruit 16 year olds into its armed forces. Sign the petition that calls on the UK Government to stop its policy of allowing 15 year olds to apply and 16 and 17 year olds to be recruited into the Armed Forces. The recruitment and targeting of young people and vulnerable groups has been critised by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. 2014 is the year to end this policy. Print petition display in parish, community space or workplace. www.paxchristi.org.uk

Peace Sunday 2014 resources available

Trident Alternatives Review and the Future of Barrow December 2012

100 Days of Peace – for resources for teachers in primary and secondary schools produced by the Catholic dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster

In June 2010 Prof David Webb spoke to the Commission on Arms Conversion.

Pax Christi produced Security for the Common Good in preparation for the Defence Review.

Trident Jobs & UK Economy questions whether the funds would be better spent on long-term sustainability.

Brother in Arms is a paper given to the Social Responsibility Forum of Churches Together in Cumbria. It tells the hundred year history of a warship made for export at the turn of the last century.

For resources

Links to: Pax Christi  /  Campaign Against The Arms Trade  /  CND & CCND