The Scottish Government has called for talks on removing Trident from Scotland ahead of next year’s independence referendum.
The request comes in the Scottish Government’s reply to a report by the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee on the future of Trident in Scotland following the referendum.
The reply, from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, states that the Scottish Government “would welcome discussions with the UK government on these and other areas affected by independence”, even though UK Ministers have said they do not intend to discuss the future of Trident before the outcome of the referendum. Further information on the consequences of independence for Trident will be published in a Scottish Government White Paper on independence in 2013.
The response outlines the Scottish Government’s position that following a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum, “securing agreement with the UK Government would be both a major and an early element in Scotland’s transition towards independence”. It would be the responsibility of the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to agree arrangements for the “safe and timely withdrawal” of Trident from Scotland. At the same time, Scottish Ministers are committed to the retention and diversification on HM Naval Base Clyde to provide alternative employment to those who currently work there.
Following publication of its report, the Scottish Affairs Committee led a House of Commons Westminster Hall debate on Trident and the Scottish referendum, providing MPs with an opportunity to discuss the report itself and the responses from the two governments.