Removing Trident from Scotland after independence could “kick start” global efforts to get rid of nuclear weapons, an MSP has insisted.
Bill Kidd spoke out as SNP members overwhelmingly backed a resolution calling for the UK’s nuclear deterrent, currently based at the Faslane base on the Clyde, to be removed within three years of Scotland leaving the UK.
Mr Kidd told the party’s national conference that such a move would “substantially advance international security for the entire world”.
He insisted: “All people in all nations will become safer for every weapon that is disarmed.”
But he also argued: “We know there is no other suitable location in the UK for a nuclear base and it is highly likely this step will kick start the international disarmament process.
“We should wear that knowledge with pride.”
The Glasgow Anniesland MSP, who is also a co-president of the international group of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, insisted the ambition to get rid of nuclear weapons within three years of Scotland voting for independence was “achievable”.
He cited the example of Kazakhstan in support of this, saying after it declared independence in December 1999 it “succeeded in disarming over 2,500 nuclear weapons”.
Mr Kidd added: “In three years and five months Kazakhstan achieved total disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. They did so with quantities of weapons and nuclear materials far outnumbering the stockpiles at Faslane and Coulport.”
Fellow SNP member Deborah Torrance, from the party’s Milngavie branch, said: “The UK nuclear deterrent is an antiquated system of annihilation and an affront to humanity.
“We must stay unequivocal in our demands to oppose the stockpiling of these abhorrent weapons.”
Members at the conference voted by 528 to 14 for an independent Scotland to sign up to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and for “a future SNP government of an independent Scotland to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland within three years”.
The party’s stance differed from that of Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, whose members voted for the removal of Trident on the first day of Scottish independence.
Former socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan, who is now a member of Alba after being convicted of perjury in 2010, was given a standing ovation as he declared: “The principle is that no way will nuclear weapons be acceptable in an independent Scotland, not from year one, not from year two, not from day one.”