Trident should be axed due to ‘threat to world from nuclear weapons’ – Blackford

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was asked whether Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had changed his party’s position on the nuclear deterrent.

07 March 2022

Ian Blackford has reiterated the SNP’s commitment to removing Trident, as he suggested the UK’s nuclear deterrent should go precisely because there is a “threat to the world from nuclear weapons”.

In an interview with the PA news agency, the SNP Westminster leader was asked whether Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had changed his party’s position on the nuclear deterrent.

Russia has recently raised the spectre of a nuclear war, reporting that its land, air and sea nuclear forces were on high alert following orders from President Vladimir Putin.

Nato itself has no nuclear weapons, but three of its members do: the United States, the UK and France.

Mr Blackford reiterated his party’s commitment that the UK gets rid of its Scotland-based Trident nuclear deterrent, saying: “No, (the party position has not changed). Absolutely not at all, because there is a threat to the world from nuclear weapons.

“The idea that having nuclear weapons provides a deterrence that removes that threat is far-fetched, to say the least.”

Mr Blackford also rejected claims put forward by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that an independent Scotland would be more vulnerable to terrorism threats and Russian aggression if it became independent.

He said: “Well, I think he makes a lot of wrong assumptions. One of the wrong assumptions that he makes is that Scotland would be standing alone. Scotland wouldn’t be standing alone.”

Mr Blackford added: “The SNP Scottish government is very clear that an independent Scotland, amongst other things, would seek to be a member of Nato. We would be alongside our friends or partners in the Western world, and we would want to make sure that we’re taking our responsibilities for defence and security just as any other independent country does.”

On whether an independent Scotland would be able to join Nato, Mr Blackford appeared positive given its “strategic importance”.

He said: “I think Nato made it clear that it seeks to work with those that apply for membership. And I think given our strategic importance, and our desire to be a constructive voice within the family of nations of Nato… just as we would be back in Europe as well.

“Let’s not forget the importance of defence and security in Europe. I look forward to the constructive discussions that we will have.”

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