SNP conference backs “soonest possible” removal of Trident

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has reiterated its commitment to removing Trident from Scottish waters as the party’s spring conference today (Saturday) passed a motion committing to the soonest possible timetable for removal of the nuclear weapons system following independence.

The conference unanimously backed the motion, which read:

“Conference believes that an independent Scotland will have the right to decide that the Scottish people’s regularly and frequently reiterated view that Trident nuclear submarines, missiles and warheads should be removed from our land and waters in the soonest possible timescale is based on the international law of the right of national self-determination.”

Earlier this week a report by Centreforum urged the UK Government to cancel the “nonsensical” replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system and use the money to “revitalise” the armed forces.  The report called for the existing nuclear submarines to be reused for conventional defence, and for the Trident weapons system to be scrapped.

The report highlighted that Trident and its replacement serve no meaningful purpose in the post-Cold War era.  It also dismissed claims that it was only due to possession of a nuclear deterrent that the UK retains its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.  

Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, said:

“A key advantage of independence is that it is the only constitutional option which gives Scotland the powers to have Trident removed from Scottish waters, and we believe that the Westminster Government will wish to act on this and withdraw Trident as quickly as possible in these welcome circumstances.

“Majority Scottish opinion, our churches, the Scottish Trade Union Congress and Civic Society, all oppose Trident – and the Scottish Parliament has voted against its replacement – yet the UK Government wants to use Scottish taxpayers’ money to pay for these weapons of mass destruction while cutting conventional defence.

“As the this week’s Centreforum report underlines, from being a supposed deterrence during the Cold War, Trident has itself now become one of the biggest defence risks we face with the cost of replacement threatening the future of conventional forces and bases.

“While conventional forces have been cut, run-down and overstretched, with 10,500 defence job losses in Scotland and a £5.6bn underspend over the last decade, Trident has been treated as some sacred cow by the UK Government.

“It is appalling that, whilst the Westminster government is forging ahead with cuts to basing and personnel, they can find the money for a nuclear weapons system that offers no meaningful defence to the threats we face in the 21st century.  The UK government has its priorities all wrong when our conventional, front-line forces face redundancy, while the Trident nuclear weapons system gets renewal.

“Any way you look at it – on moral, financial, or defence grounds – renewal of Trident is completely untenable in the face of these redundancies. A normal country with the power to decide its own defence and security policy would never be pushed into this crazy situation.  Scotland must have independence to determine its own priorities, rather than have somebody else’s imposed on it.”