SNP to vote on support for NATO
19 October 2012
Scottish Nationalists are set to take part in a vote asking them to reverse their longstanding opposition to NATO membership for an independent Scotland today.
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond reached an agreement with UK Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week which will see a referendum on Scottish independence taking place in the Autumn of 2014.
At the Scottish National Party annual conference, members will be asked to support NATO membership should Scotland leave the United Kingdom, while maintaining calls for the complete removal of the UK's nuclear weapons from Faslane.
The party's leadership is widely expected to win the support of its members, many of whom strongly oppose nuclear weapons and have rejected the idea of NATO membership for decades because of its status as a nuclear alliance.
SNP defence spokesman Angust Robertson said: "With agreement on the withdrawal of Trident and retaining the important role of the UN, Scotland can continue working with neighbours and allies within NATO."
Earlier this week, Alex Salmond said that Scotland should "continue" to be a full member of NATO, but evidence submitted to the Defence Select Committee by the Ministry of Defence suggested that full membership was not guaranteed.
The MoD, in evidence to an inquiry on the potential impact of Scottish independence, said that the Scottish National Party's commitment to NATO only included joining the Partnership for Peace programme.
"This is a valuable programme of co-operation between allies and other countries in the Euro-Atlantic area and many Partners make valuable contributions to NATO operations. But it is not the same as full NATO membership," the MoD wrote in its evidence.
"It does not provide a voice in NATO's senior decision making bodies, nor, because the Washington Treaty does not apply, does it bring with it NATO's Article 5 collective defence assurance where an attack against one of the Allies shall be considered as an attack against all, if all NATO members agree."
If Scotland did want full membership of NATO in future, the MoD said there was "no guarantee" that it would be automatic. At a summit in Chicago earlier this year, NATO reaffirmed its commitment to remain a nuclear alliance for "as long as nuclear weapons exist", and the Scottish Government's opposition to Trident would be an "important consideration" in NATO's decision on whether it could achieve full membership.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said Scotland would lose its influence in world affairs if it broke from the United Kingdom.
"As part of the UK, Scotland benefits from a place at the top table exercising influence in international organisations, including the EU, NATO and the G8."
HAVE YOUR SAY
19 October 2012
So they want rid of UK nukes but still be protected by Nato nukes, this celtic logic defeats me but hey, hypocrisy is part of politics isn't it??
JC - UK
19 October 2012
Alex Salmond beggars belief,does not believe in nuclear weapons if they are based on his soil,but wishes to have there protection as long as it's provided by someone else.
If the SNP vote for this then it shows just what a hypocritical,two faced bunch they are.If the Scottish electorate vote for a party which it seems has no morals whatsoever,then I hope they are willing to accept the consequencies.
They know full well that it will fall to the rest of the UK to still defend the GIUK gap and northern airspace,as they will not have the means to do it.
Take everything and give nothing,seems to be the SNP slogan.
michael - notts