Holyrood 2016: Scottish Labour to oppose Trident renewal

Opposition to the renewal of Trident will be included in Scottish Labour's manifesto for the Holyrood election, leader Kezia Dugdale has confimed.

Opposition to Trident would be included in the Scottish Labour Party Manifesto. Picture: Greg Macvean

Ms Dugdale said the document, to be unveiled next week, would reflect her party’s decision to back the scrapping of the UK’s nuclear missile system at Faslane naval base on the Clyde.

She came under pressure from an anti-nuclear campaigner to clarify her party’s stance on the issue during a phone-in on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams programme.

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While an overwhelming majority at a Scottish Labour conference last November supported a call for Trident not to be renewed, Ms Dugdale has said she personally is in favour of multilateral disarmament.

Questions had been raised about whether opposition to Trident would be included in the party’s Holyrood manifesto as it is an issue reserved to Westminster.

While UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backs unilateral disarmament, many in his party remain in favour of the nuclear weapons system.

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Ms Dugdale said: “I took over the leadership of the Labour Party and it was very clear to me that there were very mixed views on the issue of Trident.

“My job as leader was to try and resolve that, work a way through it, and the way that I did that was by creating space at our party conference ... for our party members to do something really unique, have a healthy democratic debate about it and then vote, and we did that and the result of that process is that the Scottish Labour Party is opposed to the renewal of Trident.

“We want to make sure that the communities affected by Trident not being renewed are protected and there are new jobs, and there’s a lot of detail on how we would go about doing that.

“But we are opposed to the renewal of Trident and you’ll see that reflected in our manifesto.”

The SNP is strongly opposed to Trident while the Scottish Conservatives back its renewal in equally strong terms.

During the programme, Ms Dugdale was also called on to defend the timing of her manifesto launch, which will take place in the week before the May 5 vote.

She said: “The manifesto is coming out next week. It’s worth making a slightly partisan point, which is that lots of people got their vote on Friday, about a quarter of the country votes by post now, the postal votes landed on Friday and the SNP manifesto isn’t out yet.

“What I would say about that is that lots of policies, lots of details about the platform the Labour Party stands for is already in the public domain.”

Pressed on her party’s chances in the election, she said: “I would love to serve this country as First Minister and I still hold out that aspiration.

“I heard Ruth Davidson last week aspiring to lead the opposition. I came into politics because I want to transform this country, so I’m never going to give up that sense of hope, that belief that Labour values can do that, they can help every child in this country be everything that they want to be.

“I’m getting up every morning campaigning for every single vote because I would love that opportunity to serve this country as its First Minister.”