Scotland Election 2016

Holyrood 2016: Scottish Labour manifesto will oppose Trident renewal

Submarine Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The UK's submarine-borne Trident nuclear weapons system is based on the Clyde in Scotland

Opposition to Trident renewal will be included in Scottish Labour's manifesto for the Holyrood election, leader Kezia Dugdale has confirmed.

She told the BBC's Call Kaye show that the document would reflect the party's 2015 conference decision to back scrapping the UK's nuclear missiles.

Trident is currently based at Faslane on the Clyde.

Ms Dugdale has said in the past that she is personally in favour of multilateral nuclear disarmament.

That means she would prefer a globally negotiated decision to end possession of the weapons.

'We are opposed to the renewal of Trident'

UK leader Jeremy Corbyn backs unilateral disarmament, meaning he would scrap the system as soon as possible.

However, many in Labour remain in favour of renewing Trident and the party's pro-nuclear weapons policy is now under review.

While answering questions from listeners on the BBC Scotland's Call Kaye programme, Ms Dugdale said: "I took over the leadership of the Labour Party and it was very clear to me that there were very mixed views on the issue of Trident.

"My job as leader was to try and resolve that, work a way through it, and the way that I did that was by creating space at our party conference ... for our party members to do something really unique, have a healthy democratic debate about it and then vote, and we did that and the result of that process is that the Scottish Labour Party is opposed to the renewal of Trident."

She added: "We want to make sure that the communities affected by Trident not being renewed are protected and there are new jobs, and there's a lot of detail on how we would go about doing that.

"But we are opposed to the renewal of Trident and you'll see that reflected in our manifesto."

The government at Westminster will make the decision on whether to renew the UK's nuclear weapons system. The Scottish Parliament will not have a say although the home of Trident is in Scotland.

Where do the parties stand on Trident renewal?

Image copyright PA

Conservative leader and Prime Minister David Cameron has always maintained the UK needs to keep its nuclear weapons, calling it an "insurance policy" against attacks. Replacing Trident was a Tory manifesto pledge in last year's general election.

Labour has traditionally supported Trident renewal, saying it has been a "cornerstone" of peace and security for nearly 50 years - but that policy is now in doubt after the election of long-time opponent Jeremy Corbyn as party leader. He says the issue will form part of their defence review, but has also said that even if there was a replacement system, he would never use it as PM.

The SNP opposes Trident renewal. During the general election campaign it described Trident as "unusable and indefensible - and the plans to renew it are ludicrous on both defence and financial grounds".

The Lib Dems, who insisted on no final decision being taken while they were in coalition, have always been sceptical about a like-for-like replacement and insisted on a value for money review. They back a "step down the nuclear ladder" with a smaller nuclear weapons system providing a "minimal yet credible" deterrent.

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