Nicola Sturgeon draws ‘red line’ over Trident

Nicola Sturgeon met with David Cameron on her first visit to Downing Street since becoming First Minister. Picture: Getty
Nicola Sturgeon met with David Cameron on her first visit to Downing Street since becoming First Minister. Picture: Getty
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FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made scrapping Britain’s nuclear weapons a red line issue in negotiations with Westminster after next year’s general election as she joined the leaders of the Green Party and Plaid Cymru to launch a new “anti-austerity” pact.

But speaking at a conference in the House of Commons with Green leader Natalie Bennett and Plaid leader Leanne Wood, Ms Sturgeon refused to make getting “devo-max” for Scotland a condition of propping up a Labour government, despite her predecessor Alex Salmond writing in an article that it would be the price of any arrangement.

She said SNP MPs “will be arguing very strongly” for a settlement where Scotland raises all its taxes and sends money to Westminster for shared services in defence and foreign affairs.

But emphasising that she is now in charge, she said: “I am the leader of the SNP and I will be setting our platform for the general election.”

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However, she said that scrapping Trident “would be fundamental” for any agreement to prop up a government. She described renewing Trident as “economic lunacy” at a time of austerity and cuts.

The three leaders also used the press conference to push their claim to be included in the televised election debates.

Currently, only David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband, Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Ukip leader Nigel Farage are included.

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But Ms Sturgeon said it would be “indefensible” for the SNP, with the third largest party membership in the UK, not to be involved.

Earlier, Ms Sturgeon attended the joint ministerial council with Prime Minister David Cameron and the heads of the devolved governments in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Following a head-to-head discussion on the Smith Commission proposals with Mr Cameron, Ms Sturgeon said that she is “confident” that votes for 16 and 17-year-olds can be delivered by the Holyrood election in 2016.

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