Macintosh accused of misleading Parliament as Lamont maintains silence on Trident

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  By a Newsnet reporter

Labour’s Ken Macintosh has been accused of misleading Parliament after he claimed during a debate on Wednesday that Johann Lamont had set out her views on Trident in a letter to the First Minister giving her response to the McCluskey report.

However Ms Lamont’s letter makes no mention of Trident, nuclear missiles, or nuclear disarmament, and now the SNP has called on Mr Macintosh to apologise for misleading the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Lamont had absented herself from the Holyrood debate on Trident missiles, leaving Mr Macintosh to represent the Labour party front bench.  The motion, rejecting the stationing of the nuclear weapons in Scotland, was passed by a majority of MSPs.  Labour’s MSPs abstained on the vote.

The Scottish Labour leader has rebuffed repeated requests to clarify her position on Trident missiles.  When first elected as an MSP, Ms Lamont swore that she would oppose the siting of nuclear weapons in Scotland, but since becoming leader of the Labour party in Scotland, she has been reluctant to spell out her position and has dodged all questions on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Better Together campaign have been slated for issuing a briefing ahead of the debate lobbying MSPs to vote in favour of renewing Trident.  The SNP says that this provides confirmation that only a Yes vote will rid Scotland of nuclear weapons.

Bill Kidd MSP – a Co-President of the international organisation Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament – said the debate showed that the Scottish National Party was on-side with the people of Scotland.

Mr Kidd said:

“On the day that the Chancellor announced continued austerity from the UK Government which will hurt the most vulnerable in society, it is outrageous that they want to spend up to £100billion on a new Trident nuclear weapons system.

“Today’s Scottish Parliament debate was crucial and allowed MSPs to send a clear message to the Westminster anti-independence parties that weapons of mass destruction are not wanted here in Scotland.

“I am proud that the Scottish Parliament has demonstrated once again today that it speaks for the people of Scotland.”

Commenting on Labour’s abstention on the vote, Mr Kidd said:

“Johann Lamont and the Labour leadership in Scotland should hang their heads in shame. There was nothing in the motion they couldn’t have voted for and there was no mention of independence in the motion – so they can’t make that excuse.

“Ken Macintosh needs to apologise at the earliest opportunity for misleading Parliament. Johann Lamont’s letter to the First Minister made absolutely no mention of Trident – and certainly didn’t break her long silence on whether she supports keeping weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde.

“The folly of the No campaign’s flawed and ill-judged briefing – which lobbied MSPs to support the renewal of Trident – has only served to confirm that they are a pro-nuclear organisation, will not be lost on the 80 per cent of people in Scotland who want to scrap Trident.

“Their attack on the suggestion that proposing to instead spend the hundreds of millions of pounds saved from Trident on tackling child poverty, investing in education or in infrastructure is deeply offensive – and sums up the anti-independence parties’ complete lack of ambition for Scotland.

“It is now clear that only a Yes vote in next year’s independence referendum can rid Scotland of nuclear weapons, allowing us to invest the billions saved in helping to build a fair society and strong economy.”