There was an interesting written answer from Defence Minister Peter Luff this week which made clear the Tories are taking a casual approach to the future of their beloved Trident nuclear weapon system. Despite the threat of Trident’s Vanguard submarines being expelled from the Faslane naval base if Scotland votes yes to independence, the Ministry of Defence has not calculated the cost of developing a naval base in England to house them, so confident are they the Scots will vote no.
‘The Ministry of Defence is not making plans to change the base ports of those classes of submarines currently base-ported at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde. The Department does not therefore hold cost estimates or other information that would relate to such changes. The Government are clear that Scotland benefits from being part of the UK and the UK benefits from having Scotland within it. The Government are not making plans for independence as we are confident that people in Scotland will continue to support the Union in any referendum.’
This came on the same day that a new report assessing locations for an alternative home for the Vanguard submarines concluded, ‘removing Trident from Scotland would mean there were no nuclear weapons in Britain.’ This seems an extraordinarily casual approach to the referendum, given hostility to both Trident and the Tories in Scotland. We can expect further questions from Julian Lewis on this.
But whilst reflecting on the developments in Scotland, Daniel Blaney has today written on Labourlist that the independence issue is only one of a number of reasons for Labour to question Trident. With MPs like former Chief Whip Nick Brown challenging the case for Trident replacement and Ed Miliband welcoming the Lib Dems Trident Alternatives Review, Daniel argues that, ‘Cheerleaders for nuclear weapons need to demonstrate the public want to keep Trident, as the polling suggests otherwise.’