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UK Government Trident and Scottish independence


The UK Government has rejected a request from the Defence Committee that they draw up detailed contingency plans for Trident in the event of Scottish independence. 




In their report “The defence implications of possible Scottish independence”, 27 September 2013, the committee said:


“The possibility of Scottish independence represents a serious threat to the future operational viability of the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The UK Government must now give urgent consideration to contingency options in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote”.


In an official response, published on 21 November, the Ministry of Defence replied:


“We note the Committee's recommendations regarding contingency planning; however, the UK Government's position remains that it is not planning for Scottish independence and cannot pre-negotiate the details of independence ahead of the referendum.”


During their investigation the Committee heard evidence from Rear Admiral Martin Alabaster, formerly the senior Navy officer at Faslane. Rear Admiral Alabaster said:


“it would be very difficult – in fact, I would almost use the word ‘inconcievable’ – to recreate the facilities necessary to mount the strategic deterrent, without the use of Faslane and Coulport, somewhere else in the UK”.


John Ainslie, Coordinator of Scottish CND, said:


“Scottish independence would be an opportunity for the UK to scrap Trident because, as the former commander at Faslane has admitted, it is almost inconceivable that the base could be rebuilt in England or Wales. Yet the UK Government are refusing to engage in any discussion of this issue. They are not willing to take seriously the possibility that Scots might vote for independence and for a nuclear-weapons free Scotland.”