SNP to discuss nuclear weapons if independent says host
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It comes as the Times newspaper reported on Sunday how Milford Haven on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales could be a possible location if Boris was forced to evacuate Britain’s nuclear weapons within three years of Scotland becoming an independent nation. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have repeatedly said they want Britain’s nuclear submarines, based at Faslane outside Glasgow and all nuclear warhead storage based in Argyll, off Scottish soil if they win an independence vote. The party is due to debate the issue and put forward the plans at their upcoming conference.
Reporting from Milford Haven, GB News’ Lily Hewitson explained why the west Welsh coast could be in the running to hold Britain’s nuclear weapons stash.
She said: “There is a natural harbour here which has been used as a port since the Middle Ages.
“But there is talk that perhaps in years to come this could be the home of the UK’s barrage of nuclear weapons.”
She added how the location of Milford Haven is desirable given its direct access to the Irish Sea.
Boris Johnson on a visit to Faslane in July 2019 (Image: GETTY•ROBERT SULLIVAN)
Lily Hewitson said Milford Haven could be a potential location for the UK’s nuclear submarines (Image: GB News)
But Ms Hewitson stressed this decision is not set in stone and any move of the Trident programme from Faslane would depend on an agreement between Scotland and the UK only if Scotland voted to become independent, any move would also involve the movement of the UK’s nuclear warheads from Coulport in Argyll.
The GB News reporter also added other locations such as Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth and even “France and the US” are being penned as potential host sites for the programme.
Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth remains the largest naval base in Western Europe – covering more than 650 acres it has 15 dry docks, 25 tidal berths and five basins.
Until 2017, it housed the Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered Trafalgar class submarines until they were moved to Faslane. While rehoming the submarines down south would be achievable, recreating the facilities availiable at Coulport would be challenging, according to experts.
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Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP will not tolerate UK nuclear submarines on Scottish soil (Image: Getty Images)
The news comes as the upcoming SNP conference is set to debate where the Trident missile programme could be relocated if Scotland does vote ‘Yes’ to independence.
In 2014 the Government ruled out moving the location of its nuclear deterrent bases ahead of Scotland’s referendum, citing the large costs involved, and still outwardly holds to that line.
But the SNP continues to pledge that it would ban nuclear weapons on Scottish soil if it became independent.
Despite the desires of the SNP, a spokesman for the UK government said they were strongly committed to maintaining the £5 billion Trident nuclear programme as a deterrent against nuclear threats to the UK and NATO allies. While the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has estimated the cost of this to be at £205 billion.
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The submarines could be moved to Wales if Scotland votes for independence (Image: Getty Images)
Meanwhile Jackie Baillie, the Labour MSP who represents Dumbarton, said: “The SNP are happy to simply move Trident over the border without a thought for the jobs and the impact on the local economy.
“They talk about diversification but this has not succeeded in the past and would take much more than three years.”
The UK currently has around 195 warheads in an ocean-based fleet of Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to push the UK’s stockpile up by 40 percent to “no more than 260 warheads”.
The review cites the current “security environment” as its primary reason for proliferation.