By a Newsnet reporter
The Labour party has come under pressure from its own members to scrap Trident after 50 party branches – including 5 in Scotland – called for the nuclear weapon system to be binned.
It has emerged that the Constituency Labour Parties have made submissions to Labour’s National Policy Forum – which is taking place this weekend – and scrapping Trident has emerged as a key issue with party members.
Labour’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said approximately 90% of amendments “simply want to see the system scrapped” while the rest urge Trident to be reconsidered in a post-election defence review and seek further commitments on disarmament.
The issue of Trident has bedevilled the party and has caused difficulty for Scottish politicians in the referendum debate where the SNP has sought to place the removal of Trident high on the independence agenda.
The Labour party has sent mixed messages, with Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont telling delegates at the STUC annual conference in April that her party favoured multi-lateral moves toward nuclear disarmament.
However other Scottish Labour MPs have indicated their support for Trident on economic grounds, claiming it supports thousands of local jobs in and around the Helensburgh area.
Polls have consistently shown the majority of people in Scotland to be in favour of removing the nuclear weapons system from the Clyde.
Scottish National Party Westminster leader and defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said the call from Labour branches for Trident to be scrapped was “embarrassing” for the party.
Accusing Labour of being out of touch with its own supporters, Mr Robertson said:
“The UK Parliament’s Trident obsession highlights the democratic deficit that Scotland faces under Westminster control.
“Labour know that the billions of pounds in taxpayer money that is wasted on Trident could be used to get rid of Westminster’s Bedroom Tax and relieving people from having to use foodbanks, but their irrational devotion to weapons of mass destruction prevents them from acknowledging this publicly.”
The SNP MP highlighted a recent poll which showed over a quarter of Labour voters in Scotland were in favour of a Yes vote.
He added: “It’s no wonder Yes is gaining support from Labour voters. A new poll has revealed 28 per cent of people who backed Labour in the 2011 Holyrood election plan to vote Yes in September’s referendum.
“The people and parliament of Scotland oppose Trident – as does Scottish civic society, the churches, and trades unions. Only by voting Yes in September can we get rid of weapons of mass destruction from Scotland for good.”