§ 11 42 pm
§ Mr. Robin Cook (Livingston)
I am pleased to submit to the House this petition signed by several thousand residents of Edinburgh and the vicinity opposing the deployment of cruise missiles.
I am particularly pleased that it is possible for me to present the petition on 4 July since it is appropriate that on the day the people of America celebrate their independence from Britain we should reflect that there are many people in Britain who now feel that Britain is developing too intimate a relationship with the nuclear posture of the United States.
The petition is the result of the work of more than 30 peace groups in Edinburgh and the immediate vicinity who approached up to 40,000 residents of Edinburgh, representing more than 10 per cent. of the electorate of that city and its immediate environs. The petition has been signed by a clear majority of all those approached, who signed without reservation and thus demonstrated yet again that a clear majority of the population are opposed to the deployment of Cruise missiles in Britain. In particular, I draw the attention of the House to the fact that the petition is signed by many residents living in streets which in Edinburgh are regarded as bastions of the Conservative party, and that it is the experience of those collecting the signatures that many of those approached said that they were Conservative voters but that in voting for a Conservative candidate they did not intend to give the Government any mandate for the deployment of Cruise missiles in this country.
The petition showeth:That Her Majesty's Government has agreed to a NATO Council decision to base 160 nuclear Cruise missiles in Britain;That any increase in nuclear armaments in Europe would be directly contrary both to the safety and interests of the people of Britain, and also to the spirit of current disarmament negotiations;and That recent polls of public opinion indicate that a majority of citizens are now opposed to the siting of Cruise missiles in Great Britain.Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will request Her Majesty's Government to announce that the NATO Council decision of 12 December 1979 to station Cruise missiles in Western Europe is no longer acceptable to Great Britain;And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.To lie upon the Table.