2 Removing the nuclear deterrent from
9. Described by Professor William Walker, of
St Andrews University, as the "heart and soul" of the
Scottish National Party (SNP), the policy of removal of nuclear
weapons from Scotland has been an aim of the SNP for many years,
and is a core issue in the referendum debate.
The SNP 2011 election manifesto said:
Our opposition to the Trident nuclear missile system
and its planned replacement remains firmthere is no place
for these weapons in Scotland and we will continue to press the
UK government to scrap Trident and cancel its replacement.
10. More recently, Alex Salmond, First Minister
of Scotland and leader of the SNP, said that if Scotland voted
in a referendum to be a separate country, then he would want a
written constitution drawn up that included an "explicit
ban on nuclear weapons being based on Scottish territory."
11. At its October 2012 Conference, the SNP agreed
a resolution on Foreign, Security and Defence Policy that if Scotland
became a separate state:
a sovereign SNP Government will negotiate the speediest
safe transition of the nuclear fleet from Faslane.
It also proposed a change in the party's policy on
NATO, such that a separate Scotland would aim to join NATO "subject
to an agreement that Scotland will not host nuclear weapons"
and only remain in NATO if NATO "takes all possible steps
to bring about nuclear disarmament."
12. The UK position is clear, it does not want
the nuclear weapons to move and Nick Harvey MP, then Minister
for Armed Forces, told us that the UK is not making plans to move
the nuclear deterrent from the Clyde.
13. There is an obvious conflict here and we
wanted to explore the practical implications of the 'speediest
safe transition' of nuclear weapons, i.e. moving the missiles,
warheads and submarines,
out of Scotland, particularly as Dr Phillips O'Brien, Centre for
War Studies, University of Glasgow, pointed out: "You can
define 'speedy' or 'safe' however you wish to define 'speedy'
Furthermore, as removing the weapons from Scotland is not the
same thing as relocating them in new facilities elsewhere, we
also explored what the UK could do to relocate Trident, how long
and complex that might be, and what implications that might have
19 "Trident: at what cost would an independent
Scotland refuse the nuclear option?", Scotland on Sunday,
8 January 2012 Back
For example: "Independent Scotland must be on its guard with
armed forces issue", Scotland on Sunday, 22 January
2012; "Scottish independence: Dilemma over future of Faslane",
The Scotsman, 13 June 2012; "SNP considers trading
share in nuclear arsenal", The Herald, 19 July 2012;
"A question of independence: NATO policy gives SNP a dilemma",
Scotland on Sunday , 22 July 2012 Back
Scottish National Party, Re-Elect A Scottish Government Working
For Scotland, Scotland's Place in the World, p.29 Back
"Ban the Bomb from Scotland says FM", The Herald,
8 October 2012 Back
NATO debate at SNP conference: Politics live blog, The Guardian,
19 October 2012 www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2012/oct/19/snp-conference-nato-debate-live-blog Back
Q 317. See also the written evidence from the Ministry of Defence
to the Defence Committee inquiry, Defence implications of possible
Scottish independence Back
The SNP Conference resolution saidthat if it acquired any submarines,
they would be conventional 'diesel electric' submarines, and Faslane
would be converted into the Joint Head Quarters for the future
Scottish military. Back
Q 1405 Back