By Bob Duncan
A new report from the Scottish Affairs Committee which says, with independence, the disarming and removal of Trident could take less than two years, has been warmly welcomed by the SNP.
The committee report, produced in Westminster, states:
“The UK’s entire nuclear deterrent is based and serviced in Scotland. The Committee has heard in evidence that nuclear weapons in Scotland could be disarmed within days and removed within months.”
Labour’s Ian Davidson, the committee chairman, said today: “We want all this sorted out by the time people come to vote. If the SNP says the weapons will have to be moved within 24 months, then the UK will have to start planning for that.”
Davidson insisted both governments had to “fully detail the consequences of the removal of Trident as part of the whole secession agreement as soon as is practical”, adding that no vote on independence should go ahead without the Scottish people “fully understanding the consequences of separation for defence and the UK’s nuclear deterrent”.
The Committee heard evidence from John Ainslie, Scottish CND coordinator. Their report takes account of information provided in two Scottish CND papers – ‘Disarming Trident’ and ‘Trident: Nowhere to Go’. These were both produced by Scottish CND to inform the debate on independence.
Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND, said,
“We welcome the acceptance of Scottish CND’s report ‘Disarming Trident’ which showed that an independent Scotland could disarm Trident within days and remove all nuclear warheads within two years.
“Westminster Governments have used Scotland for over fifty years as a base for these most dangerous and morally repugnant weapons. We welcome the commitment of the SNP, the Greens, the Socialists and many others to make nuclear weapons illegal in an independent Scotland and to remove all warheads within two years.
“This will also be welcomed by many people in England who will be saved the cost of operating Trident and funding Trident renewal and the danger its proximity brings. This, presumably, will also be welcomed by the Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, Ian Davidson, who is opposed to Trident.”
SNP MSP Bill Kidd, a member of the Council of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, said:
“These findings are to be welcomed, and only enhance the case for an independent Scotland where we can move forward towards a country free from Trident nuclear weapons.
“Trident is not wanted in Scotland, and never has been – yet the UK Government are proposing to waste £100 billion dumping another generation of Trident nuclear weapons on the River Clyde. With independence, we can ensure that Scotland’s share of the money wasted on Trident is diverted to building a stronger and fairer society.
“The vast majority of MSPs, as well as the churches, trade unions, and civic society across the nation totally oppose Trident nuclear weapons being based in Scotland.
“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 the SNP also propose a specific ban on basing nuclear weapons in Scotland in the written constitution of an independent Scotland.
“While the Lib Dems in the Tory-led UK Coalition have abandoned their opposition to Trident renewal, it is quite clear that the people of Scotland remain overwhelmingly opposed to a new nuclear weapons system on the Clyde.”