US Missile Defence System Set for UK
By Andy McSmith
Peace campaigners accused the Government of being underhand, and of turning part of the UK into a prime military target by allowing an RAF base in Yorkshire to become part of the US missile defence system. The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, announced in a written statement to the Commons that he had accepted an American request to use RAF Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, as part of the system. He said it would help to "build future protection for our citizens."
The highly guarded base is the scene of an annual peace demonstration, which can be expected to get bigger as a result of yesterday's announcement, which provoked a furious reaction.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, "This is an outrageous announcement made with total contempt for democracy and consultation. Where was the chance for MPs, let alone the public, to discuss tying in Menwith Hill to the so-called Missile Defence system?
"This totally unnecessary system will protect no-one, but threaten all... another Missile Defence base in Britain confirms our place on the front line. Were anyone to wish to attack the US, the top priority would be to destroy these defences, sited only a few miles from British towns and cities."
But Mr Browne said in his statement: "Missile defence systems... are not for offensive use and by supporting American efforts... in the UK, we are helping to build future protection for our citizens."
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