Murphy admits nuclear weapons not a requirement for NATO membership


  The SNP has welcomed confirmation from Labour’s Defence Spokesperson Jim Murphy that “you don’t have to have nuclear weapons on your soil” to be in NATO – which is what the SNP are proposing in an independent Scotland.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Murphy also claimed that “The Labour party – all of us together – believe in multilateral nuclear disarmament”.

In what was at times an uncomfortable exchange, Mr Murphy refused to be drawn on Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont’s prolonged silence on Trident – recently described as ‘deafening’ by the New Statesman.

Responding to probing by the BBC inteviewer, the Labour MP suggested that the BBC: “Invite Johann onto the telly and you can talk about it.”

Despite his demand for answers from the SNP about its defence policy, which has been recently provided by Alex Salmond’s party, Mr Murphy has himself refused to give any indication about what Defence might look like under Labour. 

He told a conference last November that “We are simply unable to make commitments now because we are not in a position to know what the health of the finances will be in 2015.”

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader and Defence Spokesperson Angus Robertson said:

“I welcome Jim Murphy’s acceptance that the SNP’s position to be a nuclear-free member of NATO is acceptable. Of course, he only has to look at the 25 non-nuclear countries already in NATO – including our near neighbours such as Norway – to realise that this is the norm, rather than the exception.

“In forming the SNP Defence policy, we have looked carefully at the countries round about us and produced a detailed defence policy which reflects what the people of Scotland desire. We are in a very fortunate position that we can spend more on conventional defence with independence, but less than we do currently within the UK, and also get rid of nuclear weapons – a win-win situation.

“Mr Murphy has refused to spell out any detail of what Defence might look like should Labour win the 2015 referendum – this is simply not good enough, and incredibly hypocritical from someone who constantly asks questions of the SNP.”

Commenting on Mr Murphy’s claims that Labour are a multilateralist party, Mr Robertson said:

“The claim from Labour’s Defence spokesperson that they are all multilateralists will come as something of a shock to all those in the Labour CND movement, not least those Labour MSPs who are known to be anti-Trident. The last time they were asked at their conference, Scottish Labour Party members endorsed the position that they’d prefer to get rid of nuclear weapons.

“Mr Murphy is not only completely out of touch with his own Party members, he’s also out of touch with the 80% or Scots who are against the renewal of Trident.

“Mr Murphy’s deeply misguided comments prove once again that only a Yes vote in next year’s independence referendum can realise the ambitions of the people of Scotland to live in a nuclear-free Scotland.”