SNP conference calls for constitutional ban on nuclear weapons

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   By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP conference has given its overwhelming support to a motion proposing that the new Scottish constitution should include a specific ban on nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction being sited on Scottish soil.

Last year First Minister Alex Salmond called for an independent Scotland to have a written constitution, drawn up in a future constitutional convention which draws in people from across all walks of life.

The motion passed today would see a clause inserted into the constitution of an independent Scotland which would prohibit any future Scottish government from giving into pressure from other states to host their nuclear weapons in Scotland.  Scotland is currently home to one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world, sited just a half hour away from the country’s largest city despite a UN ruling that nuclear weapons must be placed far from any centres of habitation.

Opinion polls show that there is massive opposition in Scotland to nuclear weapons.  A recent poll found that 4 out of 5 Scots want Trident missiles to be removed from the Clyde.  Despite this, all the anti-independence parties have stated their commitment to renewing the UK’s nuclear weapons.  

Although she was in favour of scrapping Trident while a backbench MSP and vowed to vote against the renewal of Trident, Labour’s Scottish leader Johann Lamont has dodged all questions on the subject since becoming Labour leader.  The SNP and Green parties say this shows that only independence can guarantee a future for Scotland free of the menace of nuclear weapons.

As well as banning nuclear weapons, the SNP conference has also called for a future Constitutional Convention to consider protecting the right to free education in Scotland and to enshrining Scotland’s world-leading homelessness legislation as a constitutional right to settled accommodation.

Commenting, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford who moved the resolution and who convenes the Referendum Bill Committee said:

“One of the first and most important tasks of an independent Scotland will be to establish the process for drawing up the constitution that will shape Scotland in the years to come.

“That is something that transcends party politics and is a process that must bring together people from all parties and across the spectrum of Scottish society.

“It will be an enormously exciting opportunity and will give all people across Scotland the chance to come together and lay down the fundamental principles that will underpin an independent Scotland.

“A constitution defines and safeguards the values and character of a nation and I hope a future Constitutional Convention will enshrine Scotland’s role as participative democracy based on social justice, equal law and the sharing of power.

“Clearly it will be for a future Constitutional Convention to decide precisely what Scotland’s constitution should contain, but the message has gone out loudly and clearly from SNP Conference today; weapons of mass destruction should not be permitted.

“People in Scotland have had to put up with nuclear weapons on the Clyde for far too long, despite polls showing that 80% of people in Scotland want them removed.

“A Yes vote in next year’s referendum is the only way that we can ensure these weapons of mass destruction are removed from Scotland once and for all.”