Scottish CND warn policy-ditching could cost Scottish Labour support in GE17
THE CHAIR of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has lashed out at the decision by Scottish Labour to abandon its opposition to the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon system in it’s 2017 General Election manifesto.
The party took the historic step of voting to oppose Trident renewal at its party conference in 2015, and this was reflected in its Scottish election manifesto in 2016.
However, the policy has been dropped in the Scottish Labour 2017 manifesto, which was launched after the UK manifesto in a bid to present a national prospectus to Scottish voters.
The 2016 manifesto had read: “Following a vote at Scottish Labour Party Conference, we will make a submission to the UK Party’s National Defence Review opposing the renewal of Trident, subject to a Defence Diversification Agency guaranteeing the retention of all existing jobs.”
The newly released 2017 manifesto reads: “Defence is a reserved issue and UK Labour continues to support the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.”
A Scottish Labour spokesperson re-iterated that this was due to the devolved nature of defence. Though UK leader Jeremy Corbyn is a lifelong opponent of nuclear weapons, the party included support for Trident renewal in its manifesto with the proviso of a defence review, which could theoretically see support for renewal dropped.
However, the Scottish party’s opposition to Trident renewal was included in the 2016 manifesto, despite that manifesto only relating to the powers of the Scottish parliament.
Commenting on the dropping of the policy, SCND chair Arthur West said: “Scottish CND were very pleased when the Scottish Labour Party Conference of 2015 adopted a policy supporting non-renewal of Trident. However, this vote seems to have been ignored when the manifesto was being compiled.”
Trident has long been controversial in Scotland as the submarine based nuclear missile system in based in Faslane on the river Clyde, near Scotland’s largest population centre Glasgow. The renewal of the weapon system would cost up to £205bn.
West added: “It is frankly astonishing that the Scottish Labour Party have ignored a democratic vote at their party conference which put them on the same side as the majority of the Scottish public in opposing Trident renewal.
“Giving support to Trident renewal is unjustifiable from a moral and economic point of view. It could also prove electorally damaging to the Labour Party in Scotland.”
SCND has called on voters to “only back candidates and parties who are committed to scrapping Trident”.
The Scottish Parliament, including all Scottish Labour MSPs bar one, voted to oppose Trident renewal in 2015.
Picture courtesy of Defence Images
Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is: Pledge your support today.