LABOUR’S shadow business minister, Ian Murray, has broken ranks with the party leadership over the renewal of Trident by stating that he would not vote for the renewal of the submarine missile fleet under any circumstances.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that scrapping Trident would be a “red line issue” for the SNP in any deal to prop up a minority Labour government. Party leader Ed Miliband has made a commitment to replace the four Trident submarines currently based at Faslane on the Clyde.
“If we determined the future of nuclear weapons on how the SNP votes, politics has gone bonkers”Ian Murray
However, Mr Murray told The Scotsman that he had a “different view on Trident” to the Labour leadership and also suggested he would be prepared to vote against his own party on the issue in the House of Commons.
The shadow minister, who is seeking re-election as the MP for Edinburgh South, is thought to be the first member of Mr Miliband’s frontbench team to deviate from the official Labour line of being fully committed to renewing Trident.
When asked whether he would be prepared to face being sacked from Labour’s frontbench for voting with the SNP against Trident, Mr Murray said: “I’m more than happy to cross that bridge when we come to it.”
The Labour politician said it would be “bonkers” if he allowed concerns about being in the same House of Commons lobby as the SNP on the Trident issue to dictate his position, which he insisted was a matter of principle rather than party loyalty.
He said: “I have a different view on Trident. The party position is the party position. I’ve made it clear that I wouldn’t support it [Trident].”
Mr Murray stated his opposition to Trident after it was reported that 75 per cent of Labour’s parliamentary candidates oppose renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent – including some who are running in the party’s safest seats.
He said the future of nuclear weapons could not be decided on how the SNP votes, and confirmed he would resist attempts to persuade him to vote for the renewal of Trident.
Mr Murray said: “I made it clear to my constituents in 2010 that I would not vote for the renewal of Trident and I’ve been saying that regularly.”
He added: “If we determined the future of nuclear weapons on the basis of how the Nationalists vote, then politics has gone bonkers.”
Mr Murray’s remarks came after he said he had been “against Trident for a long time”, saying that it was not the best way to defend the UK, in a letter to anti-nuclear campaigners in his Edinburgh South constituency.
A Labour spokesman, when asked whether Mr Murray’s views were at odds with those of Mr Miliband and Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, said: “Ian Murray’s views on Trident are well known.”
The SNP last night said Mr Murray’s intervention was “significant” due to his position in the shadow cabinet and suggested that Labour was split on the issue of Trident.
SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said: “We already know that three-quarters of Labour candidates across the UK are opposed to wasting £100 billion renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system, and it is significant that someone who has been one of Ed Miliband’s frontbenchers is against Trident.”
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