The Scottish Labour party has voted overwhelmingly to abandon the replacement of Trident nuclear weapons, adding to pressure on the party’s Westminster leaders to review its pro-nuclear defence policy.
Labour members voted in favour of the motion by 70.3 per cent to 29.7 per cent. A total of 11,444 votes were cast by members of constituency parties, 70.2 per cent backing the motion, and 29.8 percent rejecting it.
A composite resolution, stating that nuclear weapons pose a “mortal threat to humanity’s survival” if used, are “massively expensive” and calling for the renewal of the Clyde-based weapons system to be abandoned was backed by more than seven in ten voters. It said it was immoral to spend billions on the system at a time of worsening austerity in public spending.
She also said the review would not be finished “shortly” – a hint that the process may not conclude until after a decision on renewing Trident is made in Parliament.
His backing for unilateral disarmament puts him at odds with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who instead supports the removal of nuclear weapons on a multilateral basis, and who watched the debate from her seat on stage.
The Trident debate divided Labour activists, trade unions and politicians at the conference.
Ms Baillie, the MSP for Dumbarton, said while she respected the position of unilateralists she did ” not believe that giving up our nuclear weapons in isolation will trigger other nations to reduce their number”. She said: “There wasn’t a vote on it at our national conference in Brighton because delegates themselves decided not to debate it and they also decided that they would endorse our existing policy, which they did on the first day of the conference”.
He criticised “ill-judged and crass” contributions to the wider debate from SNP MSPs – who also oppose renewal, and who he claimed had adopted a “morally superior” stance. “Rising levels of unemployment, increasingly levels of poverty – that’s what the real alternative is”.
From both constituencies the Labour branches and Trade Union affiliates, just over 70 per cent backed the motion, in a historic vote.
“Conference, let’s choose life, let’s choose to be the change we want to see in the world, let’s cancel Trident renewal”.
“Labour in Scotland is beset by infighting and confusion, so whatever their rhetoric – on Trident, tax credits or any other issue – the fact is they are a party who are barely fit for the opposition let alone government”.
Ms Eagle said she was undertaking a debate into Labour’s defence policy which would not be finished “shortly”. For me this decision highlights how fragmented the Labour Party has become as a whole.
This debate is a nonsense, and frankly it is an utter indulgence.
Ms Eagle said that her review would consider the issue of how a future Labour prime minister would operate the deterrent, even though Mr Corby had said that he would never authorise its use.
Faslane is the biggest single-site employer in Scotland. “More than a quarter of West Dunbartonshire’s full-time workforce are employed there in good quality, well-paid jobs”.
“The GMB union told Scottish Labour it needed to “get real” that opposing renewal would cost thousands of jobs”. Renewing the nuclear deterrent is crucial to ensuring we are prepared for the worst of them.
SNP MSP Bill Kidd said the split between Labour members north and south of the border was an “absurd situation”. With the Scottish Tories lurching to the right, it leaves a huge space for the Liberal Democrats in the liberal, centre ground.
“For 60 years, successive Labour and Conservative governments have been united on this issue. I appeal to moderate Labor MPs to back our decision to maintain around the clock nuclear capability – the ultimate guarantee of Britain’s security”, he said as quoted by the Guardian.