CND today condemned the Government’s response to the Defence Committee report The Defence Implications of Scottish Independence and said the Government was ducking the debate on Trident.
The Defence Committee’s report said the replication of facilities at Faslane and Coulport at another site in the UK would take several years and many billions of pounds to deliver. Furthermore it said the implications of Scottish independence for the remainder of the UK’s ability to provide security for Trident during a transition period would need detailed and early consideration.
In response, the Government today said, ‘Without knowing what a future independent Scottish Government’s approach to defence would be, there is uncertainty over the implications for defence of the UK and, in particular, for defence of an independent Scotland.’
The response makes no mention of ‘nuclear’, ‘deterrent’, ‘submarine’, ‘Trident’, ‘Vanguard’ or ‘Faslane’.
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, commenting on the Government’s response, said that,
‘It is clear that Scottish independence would result in serious attempts to kick Trident out of Scotland.
The SNP’s stance and Scottish public opposition to nuclear weapons is clearly pushing Trident up the agenda. Philip Hammond himself told the Defence Committee that it would cost a signiﬁcant amount of money to relocate Trident from Scotland. But he didn’t dare be drawn on an alternative location.
That’s because the Government knows other sites are unsuitable and public opposition makes relocating the naval base to England or Wales such a headache for them.
All parties north and south of the border should be facing up to the economic and strategic arguments which challenge the spending of over £100bn on a weapons system which does nothing to counter the genuine security threats we face.
The government must stop ducking the debate. It’s time that scrapping Trident and delivering on disarmament was discussed seriously at Westminster.’