SNP youth wing backs Nato membership in significant policy shift

The SNP’s youth wing has reversed years of opposition to Nato membership in a significant shift in policy.

Young Scots for Independence announced on Saturday the group now agreed with the mainstream SNP position that an independent Scotland should join Nato following an overwhelming vote.

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon said the war in Ukraine had strengthened her belief that such a move post-independence was the right one given Scotland’s strategic defensive position in the north of Europe.

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However, the move raised questions about the SNP’s continued opposition to Trident being situated in Scotland and their anti-nuclear weapons stance, with critics questioning whether the two positions could be held alongside a move to Nato membership.

The Scottish Greens also disagree with their coalition partners, with co-leader Patrick Harvie stating his party does not believe Nato membership is the correct move.

Young Scots for Independence member Jack O’Neil, who proposed the successful change of policy, said the decision brought the group’s approach in line with public opinion after a decade of opposition.

He said: “The SNP is now unified in its sensible foreign policy approach and desire to play its part in the defence of our ideals, principles, and democracy as a full member of Nato’s defensive alliance.

A unarmed Trident II (D5) ballistic missile is fired from HMS VigilantA unarmed Trident II (D5) ballistic missile is fired from HMS Vigilant
A unarmed Trident II (D5) ballistic missile is fired from HMS Vigilant

“Nato membership not only offers us protection, it signals our support and solidarity to the nations whose democracy and ideals remain under constant threat from the tyrannical Putin regime.

“It’s important at this time we show our support and affirm our commitment to protecting those nations.”

Mr O’Neil also rejected claims the move was “at odds” with the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland.

He said: “The Ukrainians, who are bravely defending their land and people from an evil invader, wouldn't think twice about supporting this. With Nato protection, they wouldn't be facing the barbarism they are currently successfully fighting off.

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“Nato’s positive, progressive vision is in stark contrast to the threats we face from an imperialist Russia, a country so intent on committing genocide and war on innocent neighbours.

“This does not for a second put us at odds with our commitment to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland, nor does it end our opposition to the existence of weapons of mass destruction.”

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