We could bargain with nuclear weapons, says Alex Salmond as FM signals intention to reverse SNP policy on Nato membership

Alex Salmond said he was prepared to scrap the SNP's opposition to Nato membership. Picture: Neil Hanna
Alex Salmond said he was prepared to scrap the SNP's opposition to Nato membership. Picture: Neil Hanna
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An independent Scotland could trade its share of the UK’s nuclear arsenal “for something more useful”, First Minister Alex Salmond said yesterday, as he backed the SNP’s move to ditch the party’s opposition to Nato membership.

• First Minister defends reversal of policy on independent Scotland joining Nato

• Trident could be used as an ‘asset’ to trade ‘for something more useful’

• Salmond’s comments come after Angus Robertson said SNP would debate the stance

The First Minister, speaking at his official Bute House residence yesterday, appeared to suggest that an independent Scotland could use the Trident nuclear missiles at Faslane to bargain for a share of the UK’s military equipment if Scots back independence in 2014.

He said: “The nuclear weapons concerned are not Scotland’s nuclear weapons. If they are regarded as an asset, which I would find difficult to regard it as, then I am quite certain that we can trade that asset for something more useful.”

He also said he is very keen on the SNP’s move to abandon the party’s opposition to Nato membership, saying that “circumstances change”.

The SNP leader also mounted an attack on former Nato secretary general Lord Robertson, who previously told The Scotsman that a separate Scotland would be thrown out of the alliance if it adopted a “pick and mix” approach to the pact’s terms and conditions.

He said: “When he actually was Nato secretary general, Lord Robertson said: ‘In the founding act, Nato committed itself to the famous three nuclear Nos: no intention, no plan, and no reason to establish nuclear weapons storage sites on the territory of new members; a commitment still valid.’”