Nicola Sturgeon sets out exactly why nuclear weapons have no place in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon at anti-nuke rally
Brian Finlay

On 24 November, leader of the SNP and first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon appeared on Sky‘s Sophy Ridge on Sunday. And she explained exactly why there’s no place for nuclear weapons in Scotland.

“Weapons of mass destruction”

Sturgeon said a Jeremy Corbyn-led minority UK government scrapping its nuclear weapons would be a “red line” for SNP support.

But the first minister didn’t stop there.

Sturgeon also said, “I have a moral objection to weapons of mass destruction”.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) tweeted in support of Sturgeon’s demands:

Sturgeon also used the interview to position her party as being best placed to take on the Scottish Tories. In all Conservative-held seats in Scotland, the SNP had the second biggest vote share in the 2017 general election. In Stirling, the SNP is just 148 votes behind the Tories.

Sturgeon calls out Jo Swinson

The first minister of Scotland then called out Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. During ITV‘s election interviews on 19 November, Swinson said bluntly on national TV she would use press the ‘nuclear button’.

On 19 November, CND slammed Swinson for her “disgraceful response”:

But Sturgeon took no prisoners during her interview with Sophy Ridge. The first minister said:

unlike Jo Swinson, I wouldn’t be prepared to press a nuclear button that would kill potentially… tens of millions of people.

That’s a true leader, Jo – unlike yourself who would authorise the use of nuclear weapons just 30 miles from your constituents. 

The renewal of Trident

Sturgeon went on to detail other reasons for scrapping Trident renewal. The first minister said the cost of Trident could be up to “tens of billions”. And she also said that money would be better used on more “conventional defence that is more effective to protect our country”.

The SNP leader also believes that the money used to renew Trident could be used on “hospitals and schools” and on “better social security provision”. Sturgeon also said she’s been campaigning to ditch the UK’s nuclear weapons programme ‘all of her life’.

Moreover, Trident nuclear weapons are kept on the River Clyde at Faslane. This naval base is just 40 miles away from Scotland’s largest city of Glasgow which is home to over 610,000 people. Sturgeon is right to get nuclear weapons off the Clyde.

Say no to nukes

So in the event of a hung parliament after 12 December, Sturgeon states that scrapping the renewal of Trident is necessary in exchange for SNP support of a Corbyn-led minority government at Westminster. The Labour manifesto contains a pledge to “create a nuclear-free world” but not to scrap trident. But, as the BBC reported, Corbyn is a life-long campaigner for nuclear disarmament. Corbyn also believes the critical risks facing the UK are cyber-attacks and the threat of climate change, which Trident will not deter.

So with a Corbyn-led government, let us all hope Trident nuclear weapons would be scrapped. But most importantly, let us all hope this could be a large stride forward in securing a nuclear-weapon-free world. Because that’s what we all should be aiming for.

Featured image via Garry Knight/Flickr

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