Alba party leader Alex Salmond claims independent Scotland could be rid of Trident on ‘day one’

ALEX Salmond has claimed Scotland could get rid of Trident on “day one” of independence despite previously accepting it would take years.

The former First Minister’s latest position on the nuclear deterrent at Faslane and Coulport will be put to members of his Alba party at its first conference next month.

The 6000-member party is expected to back the policy in a “clear commitment to the removal of weapons of mass destruction from the Clyde”.

Alba also wants a windfarm built at the site of the current warhead depot.

The timetable, which is intended to highlight differences with the SNP’s more gradual approach, is at odds with the one Mr Salmond endorsed while in government.

The independence prospectus he published in 2013 alongside Nicola Sturgeon said the “speediest safe removal of nuclear weapons” should be a priority, but accepted that it would not be instant.

It said talks with London “would be with a view to the removal of Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence”, noting that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament had suggested it could take two years to dismantle Trident.

The Royal Navy submarine base as Faslane and the associated weapons store at nearby Coulport are the only available sites in the UK for Trident.

Experts believe it would take years to adapt another site in England, such as Devonport or Barrow.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond confirmed as Alba leader after challenge to ‘coronation’ evaporates

Mr Salmond has also changed his position on using nuclear weapons as bargaining chips.

In 2012, he said suggested Scotland could “trade that asset for something more useful” in independence negotiations with London.

However in the 2014 referendum campaign he insisted Trident was not a bargaining chip.

Ahead of publishing their conference agenda, Alba contrasted their position on Trident with the SNP’s plan to make removal a three-year process after independence. 

This would “realistically mean five years after a yes vote”, Alba said. 

Alba said Scotland should ensure that Trident was removed from Scotland “by the first day of Scotland being re-established as an independent country”. 

An Alba spokesman said: “We are confident that this agenda sets out that we have the People, the Policies, and the Plan for independence to take Scotland forward.” 

The conference motion states: “The Alba Party is opposed to the manufacturing, hosting and use of Nuclear weapons and calls on the negotiating party of an independent Scotland to ensure the removal of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and all associated Nuclear materials hosted at HMNB Clyde, from day one of Scotland being re-established as an independent nation.

“Conference notes that the RNAD Coulport Depot, which is used to mate Trident Missiles to Nuclear Warheads before loading onto Nuclear Submarines, is ideally placed to harness wind energy potential.

“Conference therefore calls on the Scottish Government of an independent Scotland to commence construction of Europe’s largest Renewable Energy Windfarm at the current home of Trident immediately after Weapons of Mass Destruction are removed from Scottish Soil.”

Alba said it was also against any future nuclear energy developments in Scotland. 

A second conference motion opposes prolonging the life of the Hunterston nuclear power station by tolerating more reactor cracks, and “calls for a halt to the importation of any form of nuclear waste and for the Scottish Government to refuse co-operation with any expansion of nuclear power in Scotland”.

Before the Holyrood election, in which Alba got 1.7 per cent of the list vote and no MSPs, Mr Salmond also said independence negotiations should start on “day one” of the newly elected parliament.

The SNP has been asked for comment.

 

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992