Uncertainty over Scottish Labour’s position on nuclear weapons is expected to continue this week after two Labour MSPs backed an SNP call for the renewal of Trident to be scrapped.
Neil Findlay and Malcolm Chisholm have signed SNP MSP Christina McKelvie’s Holyrood motion calling for “investment in people instead of these weapons of mass destruction”.
Mr Findlay is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, the new UK leader who sparked a row in the final hours of Labour’s conference in Brighton by saying he would never deploy weapons of mass destruction.
It came after delegates voted to avoid a debate on the issue at party conference last week and waive through its existing commitment to “a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a continuous at-sea deterrent”.
Mr Corbyn and his Scottish Secretary Ian Murray have said they will continue to voice personal opposition to Trident despite the continuing party policy.
Mr Chisholm has a history of backing the SNP’s calls to scrap nuclear weapons. He resigned from former Labour first minister Jack McConnell’s cabinet in order to vote with the SNP in a previous motion condemning the renewal of Trident in 2006.
Current Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has pledged to hold an open debate on Trident at the Scottish Labour conference later this month.
Ms McKelvie’s motion raises concerns about the Chancellor’s announcement that £500 million will be spent on ensuring the continuation of HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane as a nuclear submarine base for the next generation of Trident nuclear weapons.
The motion also complains the announcement came before the UK Parliament has made a decision on the next generation of nuclear weapons.
It states: “Money such as this would be far better spent on supporting many in society including people who are sick or disabled, young people and pensioners in constituencies such as Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, where those in vulnerable positions have been so negatively affected by welfare reforms that have been continued by the current UK Government and the previous UK coalition administration.
“This continued move toward a next generation of nuclear weapons is at odds with the beliefs of the majority of the Scottish population and elected members.”
The motion, which has also been signed by SNP colleagues, Green and independent members, will be the subject of a short member’s debate after First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.