MSPs silenced on touchy Nato membership issue

First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: PA
First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: PA
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THE SNP leadership has ordered its MSPs not to speak publicly about the party’s controversial proposals to ditch its opposition to Nato membership.

An e-mail sent to MSPs instructs them not to answer direct questions from the media on the issue, but to respond by sending a reply pre-approved by party bosses.

The e-mail to MSPs said: “I understand some of you may be getting calls about defence policy. Please ask them to e-mail you any questions and respond with the following: “We are looking forward to an excellent debate within the SNP on Nato, which will be democratically decided at party conference in October – the SNP’s clear policy is for Trident nuclear weapons to be removed from Scotland, and independence is the only constitutional option which enables this to be achieved.”

The move came after The Scotsman revealed that MSP Dave Thompson and the SNP trade unions group have begun work to try and stop the policy change, which has angered some grassroots activists. The move to alter SNP policy on the issue is being head by defence spokesman Angus Robertson.

An SNP communication officer sent the message yesterday urging MSPs not to respond to questions about the party’s stance on Nato.