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Defence divide in Scottish Labour

As Scottish Labour meet for their conference in Inverness, there is growing evidence of a split between Westminster and Scotland on defence policy.

Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont's has had a prolonged silence on Trident - described as 'deafening' by the New Statesman.

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SNP Westminster Leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:

“There is widespread confusion about what Scottish Labour’s policy is on the renewal of Trident. One thing is apparent though: the strain between Labour MPs at Westminster and their leader in the Scottish Parliament is showing.

“Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour’s Defence man at Westminster has so far also been evasive. When recently questioned on his leader’s view on Trident he seemed confused.

“Meanwhile the deputy defence spokeswoman at Westminster Gemma Doyle is also at sixes and sevens when questioned. According to her on the one hand Labour is absolutely committed to a nuclear deterrent based at Faslane. On the other hand - and most alarmingly for the workforce there – Labour are awaiting a Trident review from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury before they make any commitments. That review could easily come up with a variety of alternatives some of which may exclude Faslane and yet they are content to keep Scotland and the workforce waiting.

“We need clarity from Labour now. It is ironic Scottish Labour have launched their ‘truth team’ yet are unable to come up with answers themselves.

“The SNP have made clear that Trident has no place in Scotland. It is an immoral and grotesquely expensive weapons system. We have committed that Faslane will have a future in and independent Scotland as a major conventional naval facility. Scottish Labour have to make their policy clear now – not wait for the Alexander review to come out and create more havoc for Scottish defence from a coalition whose record on U-turns and broken promises is appalling.

“Given that the anti-independence parties are allegedly supportive of multilateral disbarment it is utter hypocrisy not to have a plan for the base after disarmament.


Lamont silence on Trident - http://banthebomb.org/ne/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1406:lamont-silence-on-trident&catid=63:trident&Itemid=95

Jim Murphy MP, Labour Westminster Defence spokesman on Sunday Politics Scotland/ BBC Scotland: Sunday 14th April 2013

Jim Murphy: Well, the Labour Party and Johann Lamont, Ed Miliband , Ed Balls – all of us – we’re not a unilateralist party. We don’t believe in unilaterally giving up our nuclear capability and that’s…

Andrew Kerr (presenter): Well, perhaps Johann Lamont does because we don’t really hear much from her on this issue.

Jim Murphy: And that’s pretty clear. Look, defence is reserved to the House of Commons and many important issues are devolved to the Scottish…

Andrew Kerr: Well, she must have a view on it.

Jim Murphy: Invite Johann on to the telly and you can talk… but the Labour Party’s view, all of us together, we believe in multilateral nuclear disarmament

Gemma Doyle MP, Deputy Defence spokesperson , Westminster Hall Debate - 7th March 2013



20 April 2013