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Give Holyrood power to ban Trident



The Commission on Scottish Devolution, chaired by Sir Kenneth Calman, is under pressure
to consider giving the Scottish Parliament the power to prohibit Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Although Holyrood has voted against the UK Government's plans to replace Trident it's
powers are limited.
A change to one line in the Scotland Act may be all that would be needed to allow the 
Scottish Parliament to prohibit the deployment of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Scotland.
This issue was raised in a number of written submissions to the Calman Commission and the
proposal has also been supported by Lord Murray, a former Lord Advocate.
The Calman commission, which is reviewing the powers of the Scottish Parliament, has been asked
to recommend that Holyrood is given the power to prohibit Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The Scotland Act currently includes a specific clause titled "Control of Weapons of Mass Destruction" this
is separate from the section on Defence and says that control of WMD is reserved to Westminster.
In November 2006 YouGov asked 1034 people in Scotland whether they agreed with the proposition that 
"The Scottish Parliament should have the ability to remove Trident nuclear missiles from the Clyde". 61% said
that they agreed, 25% disagreed and 14% responded "don't know".
The Church of Scotland, UNISON Scotland, the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and Scottish CND all
asked the Calman Commission to consider the issue of nuclear weapons. The initiative was supported by
former Lord Advocate Lord Murray who said that possessing Trident is probably against international law and added:
"This should be reflected into Scotland's constitutional arrangements. It should be reflected by the Calman 
The submissions to the Commission include the following points: 
UNISON Scotland:

“UNISON Scotland opposes Trident and its proposed replacement. We support the
conclusion of judges of the International Court of Justice in 1996, that the use of
nuclear weapons was inadmissible in any circumstances. In 2007 UNISON
Scotland supported the majority of Scottish MPs who voted against the
replacement of Trident and the majority of MSPs who voted to congratulate them.

Devolution of control over weapons of mass destruction may therefore be
desirable. However, we recognise it would be difficult to separate from defence.”
Church of Scotland:
“With regard to nuclear weapons, or to the war in Iraq, while Scottish opinion may be
significantly different from the full UK picture, we do not see how ultimate responsibility for
these could be passed to Holyrood while retaining UK Government. However, the Commission
may wish to consider how better the structure can reflect distinctive views in different parts of the UK.”
Scottish CND:
“we propose that the Commission recommend that the Scottish Parliament be given the power 
to prohibit Weapons of Mass Destruction in Scotland. …”
This was also endorsed by six individuals.

Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre:

“We believe the people of Scotland would be better served if the control of weapons

of mass destruction, presently reserved to Westminster, were now devolved to the

Scottish Parliament. …”  (This submission is all on the WMD issue)


Angie Zelter:

“I therefore suggest that a change is made to the Scotland Act to make it clear to the

Scottish Parliament (in its legislation) and the Scottish Government (carrying out its

executive functions) that they must act to uphold international law and the treaty

obligations of the UK, as they understand them to be (even if that is not how the UK

Government interprets them).”


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