United Kingdom

Nuclear-armed state

Possesses 225 nuclear weapons

Has not yet joined the TPNW

The United Kingdom has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

Nuclear-weapon programme

The United Kingdom possesses approximately 225 nuclear weapons, which can be launched from its nuclear-capable submarines based off the coast of Scotland at Her Majesty’s Naval Base. One submarine is usually on patrol at any given time. On 16 March, the United Kingdom announced that it would increase its limit on its nuclear arsenal for the first time in decades. Instead of decreasing its nuclear stockpile to 180 warheads in the mid 2020s, the United Kingdom will increase its stockpile cap to 260 warheads - a 40% increase.

In 2020, the United Kingdom spent an estimated US$6.2 billion to build and maintain its nuclear weapons.

The United Kingdom tested 45 nuclear weapons between 1952 and 1991. From 1952 to 1963, the British government conducted 12 nuclear test explosions and up to 600 so-called “minor trials” in the South Australian desert and off the Western Australian coast. Between 1957 and 1962, the United Kingdom and the United States tested 33 nuclear weapons at Malden and Kiritimati islands in Kiribati.

 

National position

The United Kingdom has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

Doctors from Medact and its global federation, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, meet in York in 2017. Photo: IPPNW

 

Political developments

More than 60 members of the House of Commons, along with dozens of members of the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly, have pledged to work for the United Kingdom’s signature and ratification of the treaty.

In July 2020, the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, wrote that the Scottish government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat, and use of nuclear weapons and I have called on the UK government to sign and ratify the treaty.

Ahead of the treaty’s entry into force in January 2021, she said: An independent Scotland would be a keen signatory [to the treaty] and I hope the day we can do that is not far off.

In November 2020, more than 30 bishops and archbishops of the Church of England published a letter calling on the government to sign the treaty. Many cities across the country, including Manchester, Brighton, Oxford, and Edinburgh, have also appealed for this.

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted in January 2021 by Survation on behalf of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament found that 59 per cent of Britons believe that their country should join the treaty, with just 19 per cent opposed to joining.

 

Treaty negotiations

The United Kingdom did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption. On the opening day of the negotiating conference, it joined the United States and several other states in protesting the treaty-making process.

In 2016, the United Kingdom voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

The United Kingdom actively discouraged other states, in particular its former colonies, from supporting the resolution.

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov ahead of the treaty negotiations in 2017 found that 75 per cent of British people believed that their government should participate in the negotiations, with 9 per cent opposed to participating and 16 per cent undecided.

A Japanese paper crane sits on the empty desk of the United Kingdom during the treaty negotiations in New York in 2017. Photo: ICAN

ICAN campaigners meet in London in 2015 to discuss progress towards negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Photo: ICAN

Nuclear-armed state

Possesses 225 nuclear weapons

Has not yet joined the TPNW

[HIGHLIGHTS]

The United Kingdom has not yet signed or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 

Nuclear-weapon programme

The United Kingdom possesses approximately 225 nuclear weapons, which can be launched from its nuclear-capable submarines based off the coast of Scotland at Her Majesty’s Naval Base. One submarine is usually on patrol at any given time. On 16 March, the United Kingdom announced that it would increase its limit on its nuclear arsenal for the first time in decades. Instead of decreasing its nuclear stockpile to 180 warheads in the mid 2020s, the United Kingdom will increase its stockpile cap to 260 warheads - a 40% increase.

In 2020, the United Kingdom spent an estimated US$6.2 billion to build and maintain its nuclear weapons.

The United Kingdom tested 45 nuclear weapons between 1952 and 1991. From 1952 to 1963, the British government conducted 12 nuclear test explosions and up to 600 so-called “minor trials” in the South Australian desert and off the Western Australian coast. Between 1957 and 1962, the United Kingdom and the United States tested 33 nuclear weapons at Malden and Kiritimati islands in Kiribati.

 

National position

The United Kingdom has consistently voted against an annual UN General Assembly resolution since 2018 that welcomes the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and calls upon all states to sign, ratify, or accede to it “at the earliest possible date”.

Doctors from Medact and its global federation, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, meet in York in 2017. Photo: IPPNW

 

Political developments

More than 60 members of the House of Commons, along with dozens of members of the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly, have pledged to work for the United Kingdom’s signature and ratification of the treaty.

In July 2020, the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, wrote that the Scottish government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat, and use of nuclear weapons and I have called on the UK government to sign and ratify the treaty.

Ahead of the treaty’s entry into force in January 2021, she said: An independent Scotland would be a keen signatory [to the treaty] and I hope the day we can do that is not far off.

In November 2020, more than 30 bishops and archbishops of the Church of England published a letter calling on the government to sign the treaty. Many cities across the country, including Manchester, Brighton, Oxford, and Edinburgh, have also appealed for this.

 

Public opinion

A public opinion poll conducted in January 2021 by Survation on behalf of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament found that 59 per cent of Britons believe that their country should join the treaty, with just 19 per cent opposed to joining.

 

Treaty negotiations

The United Kingdom did not participate in the negotiation of the treaty at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not vote on its adoption. On the opening day of the negotiating conference, it joined the United States and several other states in protesting the treaty-making process.

In 2016, the United Kingdom voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence negotiations on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”.

The United Kingdom actively discouraged other states, in particular its former colonies, from supporting the resolution.

A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov ahead of the treaty negotiations in 2017 found that 75 per cent of British people believed that their government should participate in the negotiations, with 9 per cent opposed to participating and 16 per cent undecided.

A Japanese paper crane sits on the empty desk of the United Kingdom during the treaty negotiations in New York in 2017. Photo: ICAN

ICAN campaigners meet in London in 2015 to discuss progress towards negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Photo: ICAN

[PARTNERS]

80000 voices

website


Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy 

website


Article 36 

website


British Pugwash 

website


Campaign Against Arms Trade 

website


Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament UK (CND)

website


Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Cymru

website


Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament 

website


Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre

website


Fellowship of Reconciliation

website


Greenpeace UK 

website


ICAN UK

website


Hastings Against War

website


Medact

website


Movement for the Abolition of War 

website


No Waste Alliance 

Nuclear Free Local Authorities

website


Nuclear Information Service 

website


Pax Christi British Section 

website


Quaker Peace & Social Witness 

website


Scientists for Global Responsibility (UK)

website


Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

website


Trident Ploughshares 

United Nations House of Scotland

website


Women's International League for Peace and Freedom 

website


World Court Project UK

Legacy of the Atomic Bomb. Recognition for Atomic Test Survivors (LABRATS)

website


Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

website


Pax Christi Scotland

website


Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

website


Hereford Peace Council

Pindex

website


The Conflict and Environment Observatory

website

[LOCALSUPPORT]

Support for TPNW in the United Kingdom Get involved with ICAN in the United Kingdom ›

ICAN Cities Appeal:

These cities, towns and provinces support the TPNW

Bangor, Wales
Blackshaw Head
Brighton and Hove
East Ayrshire
Edinburgh
Fife
Glasgow
Hastings Borough
Hebden Royd
Lancaster
Leeds
Manchester
Newham
Norwich
Oxford
Renfrewshire
Shaw and Crompton
Shipley
Todmorden
Tower Hamlets
Nefyn, Wales
Gwynedd 

Parliamentary Pledge

These are the elected officials that have taken the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge to support and promote the TPNW:

United Kingdom Parliament

Hannah Bardell MP
Mhairi Black MP
Ian Blackford MP
Kirsty Blackman MP
Deidre Brock MP
Alan Brown MP
Ruth Cadbury MP
Lisa Cameron MP
Douglas Chapman MP
Joanna Cherry MP
Ronnie Cowan MP
Angela Crawley MP
Janet Daby MP
Martyn Day MP
David Drew MP
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP
Jonathan Edwards MP
Marion Fellows MP
Paul Flynn MP
Stephen Gethins MP
Patricia Gibson MP
Patrick Grady MP
Peter Grant MP
Neil Gray MP
John Grogan MP
Fabian Hamilton MP
Helen Hayes MP
Drew Hendry MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Stewart Hosie MP
Ben Lake MP
Chris Law MP
David Linden MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Rachael Maskell MP
Stewart Mcdonald MP
Stuart McDonald MP
John McNally MP
Angus Brendan MacNeil MP
Carol Monaghan MP
Ian Murray MPwi
Gavin Newlands MP
Brendan O'Hara MP
Liz Saville Roberts MP
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
Tommy Sheppard MP
Alex Sobel MP
Christopher Stephens MP
Jo Stevens MP
Alison Thewliss MP
Thelma Walker MP
Catherine West MP
Philippa Whitford MP
Hywel Williams MP
Peter Wishart MP
Mohammad Yasin MP
Jonathan Woods MP
Daniel Zeichner MP
Debbie Abrahams MP
Stephen Twigg MP
Ruth George MP
Louise Haigh MP
Paul Blomfield MP
Jane Dodds MP
Olivia Blake MP

Tommy Sheppard MP


United Kingdom Scottish Parliament


George Adam MSP
Clare Adamson MSP
Alasdair Allan MSP
Tom Arthur MSP
Claudia Beamish MSP
Colin Beattie MSP
Keith Brown MSP
Aileen Campbell MSP
Willie Coffey MSP
Angela Constance MSP
Bruce Crawford MSP
Roseanna Cunningham MSP
Ash Denham MSP
Graeme Dey MSP
Bob Doris MSP
James Dornan MSP
Annabelle Ewing MSP
Fergus Ewing MSP
Linda Fabiani MSP
Neil Findlay MSP
John Finnie MSP
Joe FitzPatrick MSP
Kate Forbes MSP
Jeane Freeman MSP
Kenneth Gibson MSP
Jenny Gilruth MSP
Mairi Gougeon MSP
Christine Grahame MSP
Ross Greer MSP
Emma Harper MSP
Patrick Harvie MSP
Clare Haughey MSP
Jamie Hepburn MSP
Fiona Hyslop MSP
Daniel Johnson MSP
Alison Johnstone MSP
Bill Kidd MSP
Richard Lochhead MSP
Richard Lyle MSP
Joan McAlpine MSP
Gordon MacDonald MSP
Angus MacDonald MSP
Fulton MacGregor MSP
Rona Mackay MSP
Derek Mackay MSP
Ivan McKee MSP
Christina McKelvie MSP
Stuart McMillan MSP
Ben Macpherson MSP
Ruth Maguire MSP
Gillian Martin MSP
John Mason MSP
Michael Matheson MSP
Alex Neil MSP
Gil Paterson MSP
Shona Robison MSP
Gail Ross MSP
Mark Ruskell MSP
Michael Russell MSP
Elaine Smith MSP
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP
Stewart Stevenson MSP
Kevin Stewart MSP
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
John Swinney MSP
Maree Todd MSP
David Torrance MSP
Maureen Watt MSP
Paul Wheelhouse MSP
Sandra White MSP
Andy Wightman MSP
Humza Yousaf MSP

Patrick Harvie MSP

Lorna Slater MSP

Ross Greer MSP

Gillian Mackay MSP

Mark Ruskell MSP

Maggie Chapman MSP

Ariane Burgess MSP


United Kingdom Welsh Assembly


Llyr Gruffydd AM
Mike Hedges AM
Dai Lloyd AM
David Rees AM
Bethan Sayed AM
Simon Thomas AM
Leanne Wood AM
Adam Price AM
Sian Gwenllian AM
Delyth Jewell AM
Helen Mary Jones AM
Neil McEvoy AM
Carwyn Jones AM
Rhun ap Iorwerth AM
Mick Antoniw AM
Elin Jones AM

Rhys ab Owen AM

Mick Antoniw AM

Mabon ap Gwynfor AM

Cefin Campbell AM

Luke Fletcher AM

Heledd Fychan AM

John Griffiths AM

Peredur Owen Griffiths AM

Carolyn Thomas AM

Sioned Williams AM

 

United Kingdom European Parliament


Jill Evans MEP
Ian Hudghton MEP
Jean Lambert MEP
Molly Scott Cato MEP
Alyn Smith MEP
Derek Vaughan MEP
Keith Taylor MEP
Julie Ward MEP
Catherine Rowett MEP

United Kingdom Local Legislators


Sharif Ali Ashraf
Steffany McGee
William Bishop
Nathan Randles
Sam Al-Hamdani
Hfsa Fahad
Martin Judd
Heather Price
Derek Heffernan
Emilie McSwiggan
Sue Miller
Natalie Bennett
Joan Walmsley
Cllr Kevin Warnes
Jenny Jones
Jenny Tonge 
Joan Walmsley
Dale Barton
Mike Bradley
David Noland
Geoff Reid
Dave Taylor
Kevin Warnes

 

STATES OF GUERNSEY

Emilie McSwiggan

No events yet

Related news View all news ›

Support for TPNW in the United Kingdom Get involved with ICAN in the United Kingdom ›

ICAN Cities Appeal:

These cities, towns and provinces support the TPNW

Bangor, Wales
Blackshaw Head
Brighton and Hove
East Ayrshire
Edinburgh
Fife
Glasgow
Hastings Borough
Hebden Royd
Lancaster
Leeds
Manchester
Newham
Norwich
Oxford
Renfrewshire
Shaw and Crompton
Shipley
Todmorden
Tower Hamlets
Nefyn, Wales
Gwynedd 

Parliamentary Pledge

These are the elected officials that have taken the ICAN Parliamentary Pledge to support and promote the TPNW:

United Kingdom Parliament

Hannah Bardell MP
Mhairi Black MP
Ian Blackford MP
Kirsty Blackman MP
Deidre Brock MP
Alan Brown MP
Ruth Cadbury MP
Lisa Cameron MP
Douglas Chapman MP
Joanna Cherry MP
Ronnie Cowan MP
Angela Crawley MP
Janet Daby MP
Martyn Day MP
David Drew MP
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP
Jonathan Edwards MP
Marion Fellows MP
Paul Flynn MP
Stephen Gethins MP
Patricia Gibson MP
Patrick Grady MP
Peter Grant MP
Neil Gray MP
John Grogan MP
Fabian Hamilton MP
Helen Hayes MP
Drew Hendry MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Stewart Hosie MP
Ben Lake MP
Chris Law MP
David Linden MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Rachael Maskell MP
Stewart Mcdonald MP
Stuart McDonald MP
John McNally MP
Angus Brendan MacNeil MP
Carol Monaghan MP
Ian Murray MPwi
Gavin Newlands MP
Brendan O'Hara MP
Liz Saville Roberts MP
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
Tommy Sheppard MP
Alex Sobel MP
Christopher Stephens MP
Jo Stevens MP
Alison Thewliss MP
Thelma Walker MP
Catherine West MP
Philippa Whitford MP
Hywel Williams MP
Peter Wishart MP
Mohammad Yasin MP
Jonathan Woods MP
Daniel Zeichner MP
Debbie Abrahams MP
Stephen Twigg MP
Ruth George MP
Louise Haigh MP
Paul Blomfield MP
Jane Dodds MP
Olivia Blake MP

Tommy Sheppard MP


United Kingdom Scottish Parliament


George Adam MSP
Clare Adamson MSP
Alasdair Allan MSP
Tom Arthur MSP
Claudia Beamish MSP
Colin Beattie MSP
Keith Brown MSP
Aileen Campbell MSP
Willie Coffey MSP
Angela Constance MSP
Bruce Crawford MSP
Roseanna Cunningham MSP
Ash Denham MSP
Graeme Dey MSP
Bob Doris MSP
James Dornan MSP
Annabelle Ewing MSP
Fergus Ewing MSP
Linda Fabiani MSP
Neil Findlay MSP
John Finnie MSP
Joe FitzPatrick MSP
Kate Forbes MSP
Jeane Freeman MSP
Kenneth Gibson MSP
Jenny Gilruth MSP
Mairi Gougeon MSP
Christine Grahame MSP
Ross Greer MSP
Emma Harper MSP
Patrick Harvie MSP
Clare Haughey MSP
Jamie Hepburn MSP
Fiona Hyslop MSP
Daniel Johnson MSP
Alison Johnstone MSP
Bill Kidd MSP
Richard Lochhead MSP
Richard Lyle MSP
Joan McAlpine MSP
Gordon MacDonald MSP
Angus MacDonald MSP
Fulton MacGregor MSP
Rona Mackay MSP
Derek Mackay MSP
Ivan McKee MSP
Christina McKelvie MSP
Stuart McMillan MSP
Ben Macpherson MSP
Ruth Maguire MSP
Gillian Martin MSP
John Mason MSP
Michael Matheson MSP
Alex Neil MSP
Gil Paterson MSP
Shona Robison MSP
Gail Ross MSP
Mark Ruskell MSP
Michael Russell MSP
Elaine Smith MSP
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP
Stewart Stevenson MSP
Kevin Stewart MSP
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
John Swinney MSP
Maree Todd MSP
David Torrance MSP
Maureen Watt MSP
Paul Wheelhouse MSP
Sandra White MSP
Andy Wightman MSP
Humza Yousaf MSP

Patrick Harvie MSP

Lorna Slater MSP

Ross Greer MSP

Gillian Mackay MSP

Mark Ruskell MSP

Maggie Chapman MSP

Ariane Burgess MSP


United Kingdom Welsh Assembly


Llyr Gruffydd AM
Mike Hedges AM
Dai Lloyd AM
David Rees AM
Bethan Sayed AM
Simon Thomas AM
Leanne Wood AM
Adam Price AM
Sian Gwenllian AM
Delyth Jewell AM
Helen Mary Jones AM
Neil McEvoy AM
Carwyn Jones AM
Rhun ap Iorwerth AM
Mick Antoniw AM
Elin Jones AM

Rhys ab Owen AM

Mick Antoniw AM

Mabon ap Gwynfor AM

Cefin Campbell AM

Luke Fletcher AM

Heledd Fychan AM

John Griffiths AM

Peredur Owen Griffiths AM

Carolyn Thomas AM

Sioned Williams AM

 

United Kingdom European Parliament


Jill Evans MEP
Ian Hudghton MEP
Jean Lambert MEP
Molly Scott Cato MEP
Alyn Smith MEP
Derek Vaughan MEP
Keith Taylor MEP
Julie Ward MEP
Catherine Rowett MEP

United Kingdom Local Legislators


Sharif Ali Ashraf
Steffany McGee
William Bishop
Nathan Randles
Sam Al-Hamdani
Hfsa Fahad
Martin Judd
Heather Price
Derek Heffernan
Emilie McSwiggan
Sue Miller
Natalie Bennett
Joan Walmsley
Cllr Kevin Warnes
Jenny Jones
Jenny Tonge 
Joan Walmsley
Dale Barton
Mike Bradley
David Noland
Geoff Reid
Dave Taylor
Kevin Warnes

 

STATES OF GUERNSEY

Emilie McSwiggan

Find a local ICAN partner to get active Become an ICAN Partner Organization ›

  • 80000 voices

    website

  • Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy 

    website

  • Article 36 

    website

  • British Pugwash 

    website

  • Campaign Against Arms Trade 

    website

  • Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament UK (CND)

    website

  • Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Cymru

    website

  • Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament 

    website

  • Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre

    website

  • Fellowship of Reconciliation

    website

  • Greenpeace UK 

    website

  • ICAN UK

    website

  • Hastings Against War

    website

  • Medact

    website

  • Movement for the Abolition of War 

    website

  • No Waste Alliance 
  • Nuclear Free Local Authorities

    website

  • Nuclear Information Service 

    website

  • Pax Christi British Section 

    website

  • Quaker Peace & Social Witness 

    website

  • Scientists for Global Responsibility (UK)

    website

  • Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

    website

  • Trident Ploughshares 
  • United Nations House of Scotland

    website

  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom 

    website

  • World Court Project UK
  • Legacy of the Atomic Bomb. Recognition for Atomic Test Survivors (LABRATS)

    website

  • Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

    website

  • Pax Christi Scotland

    website

  • Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

    website

  • Hereford Peace Council
  • Pindex

    website

  • The Conflict and Environment Observatory

    website