By a Newsnet reporter
The SNP has called on Labour MSPs to use a Scottish Parliamentary debate this week to reject Labour Leader Ed Miliband’s confirmation that Labour will renew Trident.
The Labour Leader has confirmed in today’s Financial Times that Labour are in favour of retaining weapons of mass destruction, although Mr Miliband now says he is prepared to drop his party’s longstanding commitment to a £20bn like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Labour’s insistence on retaining nuclear weapons was restated by Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy in a Tweet today.
Mr Murphy said:
“Re FT today. Labour will retain credible independent nuclear deterrent.Wl judge policy on capability and cost. Plus strong multilateralism.”
However splits are emerging in the Labour Party on the issue. A spokesperson for Labour said last year that Johann Lamont was in favour of renewing Trident – although she herself has repeatedly dodged the issue. When first elected as an MSP, Ms Lamont made great play of her opposition to nuclear weapons, and in an interview with Holyrood magazine last year she said that the nuclear arms issue was one of the factors that first got her involved in politics. Ms Lamont now refuses to answer any questions on the issue.
Labour’s deputy leader in Scotland, Anas Sarwar MP, has stated that he wants “to obliterate all nuclear weapons not just in Scotland but right across the UK and right across the world”. Senior Labour MP Ian Davidson who convenes the Scottish Affairs Select Committee has also called for Trident to be completely scrapped.
But Labour remains a pro-nuclear weapons party.
Opposition to Trident among the people of Scotland is overwhelming – A poll published in the Herald last week found that 80% of people were against Trident being renewed.
With the Scottish Parliament is set to debate the issue on Wednesday, SNP MSP Bill Kidd has said that MSPs must use the opportunity to represent the views of the people who elected them – and send a message that weapons of mass destruction are not welcome in Scotland.
Commenting, Mr Kidd, who is a Co-President of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) said:
“Ed Miliband’s comments today have further exposed the deep fault lines running through the Labour party.
“The fact of the matter is that replacing one set of weapons of mass destruction with another is simply tinkering around the edges of the issue. The bottom line is that Labour are still a pro-nuclear weapon party.
“With the level of division amongst senior ranks in the Labour party that is emerging, it is no wonder that Johann Lamont has been so desperate to avoid saying anything on the issue.
“With Holyrood set to debate Trident this week, now is the time for MSPs to stand up and be counted – and send a clear message from Scotland’s Parliament that weapons of mass destruction are not welcome in Scotland.
“Only a Yes vote for an independent Scotland in 2014 will get rid of Trident from Scotland, and stop billions of Scottish taxpayers’ pounds being wasted on unusable and immoral weapons of mass destruction.”