The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today warmly welcomed the Scottish Parliament voting to reject the UK Government plan to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system. The Scottish Parliament voted by a huge margin on 71 votes to 16, with 39 abstentions on a motion that “congratulates the majority of Scottish MPs for voting on 14 March 2007 to reject the replacement of Trident…and calls on the UK Government not to go ahead at this time with the proposal in the White Paper”
Several Labour MSPs supported the motion, including former Minister Malcolm Chisholm who resigned from his position last December over the issue. The bulk of the Labour benches abstained on the main motion, opening up a significant split with the Westminster leadership.
The vote, whilst not taking specific measures against the Trident system shows the anti-Trident majority in the new parliament, allowing for further votes to implement sanctions against the system, based at Faslane Naval Base 25 miles north-west of Glasgow. Both the SNP and Green election campaigns pledged to take action using the Parliament’s environmental protection powers to either ban or tax the transport of nuclear warheads through Scotland, vital for the maintenance of the system.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “This is wonderful news. The majority of Scottish people are against Trident replacement. The majority of Scottish MPs at Westminster voted against Trident replacement. The new Scottish Parliament is thankfully able to reflect this.”
She continued, “The MoD and the new Prime Minister cannot ignore this vote. When Trident became a major issue at the election, the voters boosted anti-Trident parties. After Harriet Harman’s call for a review of the decision, Gordon Brown should announce this on taking power and promise a further Commons vote. No one wants weapons of mass destruction based on their doorstep – even moving Trident south would only spread the overwhelming opposition to nuclear weapons that exists in Scotland.”
During today’s debate, Minister for Parliamentary Business, Bruce Crawford MSP said “It’s our intention to hold a summit with key stakeholders to agree a joint position against Trident, to get the best ideas and proposals for an alliance of people across Scottish life who are opposed to the son of Trident.”
CND welcomed this move, which will be part of an official campaign by the Scottish Executive to express public opposition to Trident. The Scottish TUC and all major Church denominations in Scotland have been vocal in their opposition and would be expected to be included.