Bruce Kent: 22nd June 1929 to 8th June 2022

An obituary by Carol Turner

The majority of Labour Party members are supporters of nuclear disarmament and will join Labour CND in expressing regret and sorrow at the news of the death of Bruce Kent after a short illness and less than a fortnight away from his 93rd birthday. We recall and celebrate his contribution to the peace and anti-war movements.

Bruce will be remembered as a leading figure in CND over six decades. He joined the newly formed Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1960, served as General Secretary, then Chair of CND in the 1980s, and remained a national spokesperson for the Campaign thereafter. At the time of his death, Bruce was a Vice President of CND, President Emeritus of the Movement for the Abolition of War, Vice President of Pax Christi and Patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Less well-known perhaps, as a then-member of the Labour Party, Bruce attended the annual Conference as a CLP delegate in 1989, moving the successful motion to scrap Trident. Three years later, in 1992, he stood as the Labour candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon against Conservative government minister John Paton who retained the seat.

It is a sad irony that, having become a national leader of CND during the protests at Greenham Common against the siting of US cruise missiles in Britain, one of his very last public acts was to support CND’s demonstration at Lakenheath airbase on 21st May against the return of US nuclear weapons to Britain. Unable to take part in the action, Bruce recorded a video urging support for the Lakenheath campaign.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson described Bruce’s leadership in the 1980s as “the embodiment of integrity, creativity and sheer determination”, praising his “total commitment to his faith and principles.”

Labour CND Secretary Ruth Brown responded to the news of Bruce Kent’s death as many others who knew him will: “So sad to hear about dear Bruce, I will miss his constant presence and pep talks at events so much.”

Carol Turner is Chair of Labour CND

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