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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 10:37 GMT
MSP launches 'anti-nuclear' bill
Trident protest
The bill would support attempts to stop Trident being replaced
A Nationalist MSP has launched a bill which would criminalise Scottish ministers who prepare the way for the use of nuclear weapons.

Michael Matheson's bill aims to prevent the replacement of the Trident nuclear submarines at the Faslane nuclear base on the Clyde.

It comes a day after a number of MSPs, including SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon, picketed the base.

John Mayer, one of Scotland's top advocates, helped draft the bill.

Mr Matheson, the SNP MSP for Central Scotland, claimed Mr Mayer had confirmed that Holyrood had the power to pass the law outlined in his proposal.

"My bill will seek to criminalise those responsible for the preparations needed to use nuclear weapons based in Scotland, while protecting the rights of Scottish workers at the Faslane base," he said.

Moral responsibility

"It's time for members of the Scottish Parliament to stand up for Scotland's interests and oppose weapons of mass destruction based on the Clyde.

"MSPs have a moral responsibility to oppose the proliferation of new nuclear weapons in Scotland."

The bill will now go out for consultation and Mr Matheson said he was looking forward to working with all interested parties, including churches, elected politicians and members of the public.

There has been a growing protest at plans for a 20bn upgrade of the Trident submarine, with academics and politicians from across Europe joining other protesters as part of Faslane 365 campaign, which seeks to stage a year-long blockade.

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