Email from Jim Pragnell to Fabian Hamilton, MP, Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament.
1st October 2018.
Dear Fabian ,
I am not one of your constituents but am emailing you in connection with your Labour Party position as Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament.
I am part of a campaign called Public Interest Case Against Trident (PICAT). See its website www.picat.online for details. We sought a citizen’s prosecution of the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Defence for conspiring to commit a war crime by the active deployment of Trident. Planning to commit a war crime is a war crime in itself. The Attorney General was asked to give his consent to the prosecution but he refused to give it. His refusal has given rise to some issues that I believe you may be interested in.
In refusing his consent the AG gave no reason other than saying that the material provided by PICAT is insufficient. PICAT in fact provided nearly 90 pages of detailed legal argument and analysis prepared by senior Counsel. PICAT applied for a Judicial Review of the AG’s decision. In it’s response the AG’s legal team made a supposition that totally misrepresented PICAT’s position. It said that PICAT were arguing that any actual use of nuclear weapons would be criminal regardless of the circumstances and hence would preclude the maintenance by the British Government of a nuclear deterrent. In fact PICAT’s argument is based on the Government policy of maintaining the ability to launch a nuclear strike on , which would result in massive and disproportionate death and injury to civilians, a specific use that would be criminal. I have complained to the AG’s Office about their conduct in our case and am waiting for a response.
The possession of a nuclear deterrent is a long held position of ‘s “establishment”. If a criminal prosecution was allowed to proceed and it was successful then this would undermine that position, something the establishment could not countenance. I believe that the AG refused to give his consent to PICAT’s prosecution for this reason. He certainly was not willing to explain any reasons for his decision, probably because they are false. You are on record as wanting to scrap Trident but PICAT’s campaign shows that doing so will encounter massive resistance. If it could be established that simply deploying Trident at sea is a criminal activity then this would help those of us who want to get rid of Trident to succeed.
Is there anything that you could do to bring the illegality of Trident into the public domain and/or within the Labour Party? I have ed Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, Shami Chakrabarti, and asked her to question the AG about his decision. Unfortunately she did not acknowledge my or another one from PICAT. I have also ed the chairs of three House of Commons committees. The Defence and Justice committees said that it was not appropriate for them to question the AG. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee also did not acknowledge my .
If this is of interest to you and you can provide any help, then this would be much appreciated.