Activists from a pro-nationalist CND group will be able to quiz senior SNP MPs on their position on getting rid of Trident at its annual conference this Saturday
SNP MPs Mhairi Black and Patrick Grady are set to be pressed on the subject of Trident after the House of Commons recently voted in favour of renewing the nuclear deterrent.
The issue will be raised at the SNP CND conference in Glasgow on Saturday 3 September, which organisers expect will be attended by up to 100 people.
A private session in the afternoon titled ‘The removal of Trident: How to get of Trident from Scotland’, comes after a recent House of Commons vote on the renewal of the nuclear deterrent, which was passed by an overwhelming majority – although SNP MPs voted against.
Speaking ahead of the event, Patrick Grady MP said: “The SNP's vision of a nuclear-free Scotland is a key plank in our case for independence – and a statement of the role we can play in bringing about a more just and peaceful world.
“SNP CND, and this conference, in particular, provide space to explore exactly what that means in the light of recent events including the Brexit decision and vote for Trident renewal – both decisions opposed by people and parliamentarians in Scotland." Patrick Grady MP
“SNP CND, and this conference, in particular, provide space to explore exactly what that means in the light of recent events including the Brexit decision and vote for Trident renewal – both decisions opposed by people and parliamentarians in Scotland.”
In July, the House of Commons voted to back the renewal of the Trident nuclear system by 472 to 117, with all 54 SNP MPs voting against the Trident.
The MPs’ vote approves the manufacture of four replacement nuclear submarines at an estimated cost of £31bn, although the final cost of the programme is disputed. Some campaigners and organisations believe the final bill could reach up to £80bn.
At the time of the vote, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the Commons that the threat from nuclear weapons is growing all the time and Trident “puts doubts in the minds of our adversaries”.
Trident “puts doubts in the minds of our adversaries”. Michael Fallon, defence secretary
The SNP has had a long tradition of opposing trident. In 1961, the SNP conference expressed its opposition to the US Polaris submarine base at Holy Loch, for example.
SNP Bill Kidd MSP, a long time anti-nuclear weapons campaigner said: “Opposition to nuclear weapons has been a principle running through the heart of the SNP for decades – and is a principle we will continue to fight for both in Scotland and around the world.
“The SNP is clear that on achieving independence we will have all nuclear weapons removed as quickly and safely as possible from Scotland – but the fight does not stop there.
“Our party believes firmly in international solidarity and would continue to make the case for a world free of these immoral weapons of mass destruction.”
“Our party believes firmly in international solidarity and would continue to make the case for a world free of these immoral weapons of mass destruction.” Bill Kidd MSP
In 2012, Scottish CND published a report saying that a Scottish-based nuclear system coulc be removed from Scotland within two years.
The report, Disarming Trident, stated that “the removal of Trident nuclear warheads from Scotland could be accelerated if some of the warheads were moved to Honington for temporary storage” before the warheads being dismantled at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Burghfield in Berkshire.
Last year, both Scottish CND and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) looked into economic and employment consequences of removing Trident from Faslane.
With just over 520 civilian jobs directly relying on Trident at Faslane, report titled The case for a Scottish Defence Diversification Agency proposed two options for the site.
“One of the roles of SNP CND is to facilitate a dialogue between the grassroots membership and our parliamentarians.” Bill Ramsay, SNP CND convenor
The first was to convert the site to a surface ship and headquarters facility. It was first mooted by the Scottish Government during the Scottish independence referendum to turn it into the main naval base in Scotland and headquarter for the Scottish defence forces within 10 years.
The second option was to remove Trident and retention of other nuclear-powered submarines.
In 2007, both the STUC and Scottish CND noted that if the number of submarines was kept at the current level, and if the new Astue class replaced the Vanguard class Trident submarines, staffing levels would be increased as a result.
Speaking ahead of the SNP CND conference on Saturday, Bill Ramsay, convener of SNP CND, said: “One of the roles of SNP CND is to facilitate a dialogue between the grassroots membership and our parliamentarians.
“One of the inevitable challenges that the new Scottish bloc in Westminster faces is to keep in touch with grassroots opinion. This is a perennial challenge that all Scottish MPs have always faced.”
Picture courtesy of YouTube
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