Scottish parliament seeks removal of Trident from Scotland

Following elections in May which saw the Scottish National Party to a majority of the seats in the Scottish Parliament, a resolution calling for the Trident nuclear submarine weapons system to be removed from Scotland is likely to be adopted in the near future. The move comes after UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox last week began the process for a new generation of submarine-based nuclear warheads to replace the current Trident weapons based at Faslane, Scotland. The UK has no other home-port for the Trident submarines and so is unlikely to yield to any call from the Scottish parliament to close the base. However, the move would be a demonstration of divergence between Scotland and the UK – putting some wind behind the sails of a more independent Scotland. In addition, the move would strengthen the arguments of Trident critics within the UK parliament who argue against replacement of the Trident system once it is retired, on the grounds that replacement is too costly and not necessary – in fact possibly detrimental – for UK defence.

Trident replacement and ongoing running costs were reported in 2007 as being £15 – 20 billion (buying replacement system) plus £26 – 31 billion (operating existing system 2007-2023 until replacement system is ready) plus £49 – 59 billion (operating new system 2024-2054) for a total cost of £90 – 110 billion. However, there are reports that these figures are under-estimated.

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