Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Trident replacement may see Miliband back Cameron

Although I wrote in this Blog that the SNP were wrong to commit themselves to NATO.  a decision that saw saw MSPs John Finnie and Jean Urquhart, leave the Party and sit as independents, 

A moral stance that we see so little of from our elected representative

But what about the non-nuclear move 

First Minister Alex Salmond has pledged that in an independent Scotland nuclear weapons would be made illegal.

He said that if an SNP government was elected post-independence the new constitution would outlaw Trident and other such weap

In  a statement  Philip Hammond  the UK defence secretary said he was making no contingency plans for moving Trident out of Scotland in the event of its people voting yes to independence believed voters would say no in the 2014 referendum.

The minister was in Scotland to announce a £350m investment in plans to replace nuclear weapons system Trident, based at Faslane on the Clyde.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Hammond said: 

"The UK government is not planning around the possibility of a yes vote in the referendum. We are very confident that the Scottish people will recognise the value of remaining within the UK and choose to do so.
"We are not making contingency planning for a yes vote in the referendum. Were there to be a yes vote then all sorts of things would need to be reviewed, but we are not making any contingency planning for that.
"You can be confident that around a capability as important to the UK's defence as our strategic nuclear deterrent we will have all sorts of contingency plans for maintaining the deterrent in place in all sorts of circumstances - that is sound, good operational plannin

Pretty clear the Government are going ahead with a Trident replacement 

Except Hammond doesn't seem to have run it passed the LibDems Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who said in response 

People should not "jump the gun" over whether or not the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system is to be replaced, 

The Lib Dem leader said the coalition agreement was "crystal clear" that no decision would be taken until 2016.

The coalition is split, with the Tories backing a like-for-like replacement for Trident, and the Lib Dems opposing it.

Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is currently leading a review into alternatives to a like-for-like replacement.

So it looks like the Lib Dems may block any replacement of Trident, at least until after the next  election 

But what about Labour they do not seem to have come round to abolishment ,  On 14 March 2007, the Labour government won Commons support for the plans to renew the submarine system. The proposals were passed by the House of Commons by a majority of 248.

Despite a clarification that the vote was just for the concept stage of the new system, 95 Labour MPs rebelled, and it was only passed with the support of the opposition Conservative Party.

There no real indication that Labour have changed their stance significantly,

  • So will Labour back Hammond on Trident Replacement?-Possiblyenough will.
  • If not will the Lib Dems knuckle under and support their coalition partners?- Clegg has given in on Party policy before he may do so again.
  • Will any Anti-Nuclear MPs resign take the same moral stance of the two former MSPs on NATO  and resign the Party Whip?- Not a snowballs.
Of course the get out for all the Westminster Politician would be to state that no decision will be made until after the Scottish Referendum .

But that would mean they admit that Scotland might votr Yes and I suspect they rather do anything even see the coalition collapse than do that.

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