AN INDEPENDENT Scotland could force the UK to abandon its nuclear weapons, an SNP MSP claimed.Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie said relocating Trident bases at Faslane and Coulport was “not a serious option”.
Under those circumstances, he argued that if an independent Scotland “remained firm” to the SNP policy of not having nuclear weapons, it could force the abandonment of the Trident programme.
At the SNP spring conference in Glasgow yesterday, Finnie told party activists: “Relocation is not a serious option.”
While he said that “London would pay any price to keep Trident at Faslane and Coulport” he also stressed “there is nowhere for Trident to go” if Scotland was no longer part of the UK.
He said: “If Scotland remained firm on this issue, and I am certain that we will, the UK will have to abandon its nuclear programme.”
SNP members at the conference unanimously backed a motion for Trident missiles, submarines and warheads to be removed from an independent Scotland within the “soonest possible timescale”.
Glasgow Anniesland MSP Bill Kidd said a “key advantage” of leaving the UK would be allowing “Scotland the powers to have Trident removed from Scottish waters”.
In those circumstances, he said he believed Westminster would “act on this and withdraw Trident as quickly as possible”.
An influential Westminster committee last week heavily criticised the UK government over its failure to make contingency plans for defence and security should Scotland vote in favour of independence at the forthcoming referendum.
The joint committee on the government’s national security strategy said the issue was a failure by the Ministry of Defence and other departments to make adequate plans.
“The fact that the potential impact of Scottish independence was not brought to the National Security Council’s attention strengthens our concern that the horizon-scanning carried out on the NSC’s behalf is inadequate,” a report from the cross-party committee of MPs and peers said.
Ministers vetoed any contingency plans as they “are confident Scotland will continue to support the Union in any referendum”.
The government has insisted long-term security strategies are at the heart of its approach to foreign policy.