Reaction: What does Scottish Labour’s anti-Trident vote mean for the UK’s nuclear weapons?


Right-wing of the party dismisses vote, but campaigners welcome policy change

THE LABOUR PARTY IN SCOTLAND voted against the renewal of Trident nuclear missiles at its Perth conference – providing a boost to wider campaigns to stop the PS167bn renewal of the weapons system and contradicting UK Labour policy on the issue.

The party in Scotland delivered a decisive 70 per cent to 30 per cent verdict against the weapons system, but right-wing Labour representatives in England were quick to quash hopes that this would lead to a wider change in policy.

Here are some of the responses to Labour’s anti-Trident vote.

Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND

“Scottish CND welcome the decision by Scottish Labour conference to hold a debate on Trident. This is a significant move. We would encourage all delegates to vote against spending PS167 billion pounds renewing these Weapons of Mass Destruction. We also support efforts to develop ways of providing alternative employment for the workers that would be affected.”

Jeremy Corbyn, UK Labour leader

“The vote by the Scottish Labour Party conference on Trident renewal and the protection of defence jobs is a clear sign that Labour’s democracy has opened up. Scottish Labour Party members have spoken. That will now feed into the wider UK Labour debate and review of defence policy.”

John Finnie MSP, Scottish Green Party

“It’s about time that the Scottish Labour Party caught up with the strong public opposition to Trident in our country. This is one of the great moral questions of our time, and Scotland must unite in opposing this obscene weapons system capable of destroying humanity as we know it.

“Scotland’s political parties must do everything they can to stop the renewal of the atrocious weapons system, and the Scottish Greens look forward to working with our colleagues to make this happen,” he added.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, first minister of Scotland

“Good news that @scottishlabour has voted against Trident renewal…but it will only make a difference if UK Labour MPs vote against it in the House of Commons.”

Michael Fallon MP, Tory defence secretary

“For 60 years, successive Labour and Conservative governments have been united on this issue. I appeal to moderate Labour MPs to back our decision to maintain a round-the-clock nuclear capability.”

Baron Moonie, Labour member of the House of Lords

Reaction to claims the vote would have “little impact”: ” ‘Little impact?’ Try no influence whatsoever!”

John McTernan, ex-Labour adviser

Reaction to the vote: “Shameful but irrelevant news.”

Ruth Davidson MSP, Scottish Tory leader

“Welcome to former Labour supporters who don’t want their taxes raised, their country’s defences weakened or their MSPs campaigning for independence.”

Mary Lockhart, Labour party activist

“It may not strike some as particularly important that the Scottish Labour Party has voted with an overwhelming majority to oppose the renewal of Trident. Or that it has voted with an even bigger majority to oppose TTIP outright. But not since 1997 have I been so pleased.

“And in respect of Trident, I am also pleased at the dual commitment to develop a robust and sustainable Defence and Industrial strategy to ensure that high skilled, well paid, secure and sustainable jobs in manufacturing, engineering, construction and technology, affected area by affected area, job for job, are developed. This is not the politics of posture or of protest, as some – including a tiny outvoted minority at conference – have claimed.”

Sean Duffy, Scottish Labour party activist

“This Trident vote is an indulgence and a tactical opening for the SNP that gains little for us or Scotland. Pointless.”

He added: “Worth pointing out that the only people who care what the Scottish Labour Party think are the Scottish Labour Party.”

Picture courtesy of Lang Banks