Former Labour frontbencher John Park, who worked in the Faslane dockyards where the Trident submarines are based, attacked what he said was the “rhetoric” of politicians in the leadership contest and claimed removing Trident would be a “massive blow” for jobs.
Mr Park – a former MSP who is now a senior figure in the UK trade union movement – said candidates should be “very careful about the language they use” over the removal of nuclear weapons, which the SNP has suggested could be part of any deal for its MPs to prop up a minority Labour government at Westminster in the event of a hung parliament after next year’s general election.
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Fellow leadership contender and Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack also opposes Trident. She said: “Spending billions on acquiring a new weapons system would be going in the wrong direction. I said as long ago as 2007 that I don’t think we should renew Trident and invest in a new system, and that remains my clear view.”
The other candidate, former Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy backs keeping Trident.
Meanwhile Ms Boyack also spoke out on reform of the council tax, arguing a fairer system was needed to pay for local services after seven years of frozen bills under the SNP.
She suggested the present eight bands could be redrawn and praised Finance Secretary John Swinney’s replacement for stamp duty, which has increased the cost of buying homes over £325,000.
She said: “A fairer property-based tax system has to be the way forward. There are a number of ways you could make the system fairer but the debate is something that should be on the agenda now.”