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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Trident at time of more Labour/Tory austerity is 'financially stupid and morally repugnant'

The SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru will use their Opposition day debate in the House of Commons, which is this Tuesday (20th), will devote it to the subject of the Trident nuclear weapons system. The motion will call for the cancellation of the renewal of the Trident weapons programme. Labour and the Tories are both committed to renewing the nuclear weapons system - and this is likely to be the last chance for a debate before the general election. It will be an opportunity for MPs from all parties and all parts of the UK to make clear their position on spending £100 billion on Trident at a time of continued austerity, following last week’s Labour/Tory parliamentary alliance in voting for £30 billion more cuts.

Commenting in advance of the debate Angus Robertson MP, SNP Westminster Leader and Defence spokesperson, said: "The general election in May is a massive opportunity to stop Trident in its tracks by voting SNP. A strong group of SNP MPs at Westminster will oppose a new generation of nuclear weapons being dumped on the Clyde, and will use any clout we have in a hung parliament to get Trident's renewal scrapped. This is in stark contrast to Scottish Labour, who have shown time and again that there is utter confusion between the Scottish branch office and their Westminster bosses. On this issue they are not prepared to take a stand against UK Labour’s pro-nuclear position. One thing we do know is that the Westminster parties just voted for £30 billion more austerity cuts – as 28 Scottish Labour MPs voted to support the Tories' austerity programme."

"In Scotland, only SNP votes and MPs can make a difference - and we are pledged to work with other progressive political forces in the House of Commons to stop both Trident renewal and austerity. Nuclear weapons are financially stupid and morally repugnant. We have to stop wasting tens of billions of pounds on nuclear weapons – particularly at a time when Tory cuts mean that many families can’t afford to put food on the table - and this debate is a step in the process of getting rid of Trident for good." Mr Robertson added.

Commenting for Plaid Cymru Hywel Williams MP said: “Plaid Cymru’s opposition to Trident renewal is longstanding and unconditional. Fairness and social justice lie at the heart of what our party stands for - these principles could never be upheld if we believed that wasting billions on a Cold War relic at a time when public services are being slashed was in any way acceptable. Trident is estimated to cost around £100bn over the system’s lifetime. It is simply obscene to suggest that this is a justifiable figure when our schools and hospitals are crying out for investment.

Continuing Mr Williams said: "Last week, Labour and the Tories voted in favour of billions of pounds more cuts in the next parliament – all the while being committed to spending a similar amount on a new generation of nuclear weapons. Given the Westminster parties’ warped priorities it is no wonder that more and more people in Wales are backing Plaid Cymru’s progressive alternative. With our anti-austerity alliance likely to hold the balance of power at the General Election, this is a crucial debate that could influence the political landscape after polling day on May 7th."

“The Westminster parties have ducked this issue for far too long. Tuesday’s debate will be an opportunity for Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Green Party to put on record what a majority of the public believes – that we should now call time on Trident." Hwyel Williams added.