Nobel prize winner Professor Peter Higgs has joined leading figures in music, the arts and science to call for the UK to scrap its nuclear deterrent.
The theoretical physicist and emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh was joined by Mercury music prize winners Young Fathers, Frankie Boyle, Dame Vivienne Westwood, Massive Attack, former Royal Society president Michael Atiyah and US linguist Noam Chomsky to put their names to a letter published in the Observer suggesting Britain should “move on from Trident”.
Launched by political group Compass, the letter claims polling data suggested nuclear disarmament is a “majority popular demand” across the country.
The letter said: “Pinning our security on a nuclear deterrent encourages others to do the same. The UK should become the first permanent member of the UN Security Council to give up all its nuclear weapons, transforming the nuclear club from within.
“Instead of protecting us, hosting nuclear weapons makes us a target for the disaffected. And any accident would lead to a humanitarian disaster. Having nuclear weapons diverts resources and attention from tackling our most urgent security problems, including climate and environmental destruction.”
It adds that investment in Trident was “actively depleting” the Armed Forces and spending should instead be focused on “conflict prevention”.
Last week, Labour leader Ed Miliband reacted angrily after Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Fallon claimed that he would “stab the United Kingdom in the back” over the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent to secure a post-election deal with the Scottish National Party.
Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, and novelist Kamila Shamsie were also among the 70 signatories to the letter.