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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 20:59 GMT
MPs in Scotland 'against trident'
HMS Vigilant
The plans would replace the Clyde-based nuclear submarine fleet
A majority of Scottish MPs are opposed to Tony Blair's plans to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system, a BBC survey has found.

Thirty of the 59 MPs said they were either "definitely" or "probably" against the Prime Minister's proposals.

The plans, estimated to cost up to 20bn, would replace the Clyde-based fleet of nuclear submarines and extend the life of existing Trident missiles.

There would also be an option to invest in a new generation of warheads.

The survey also showed a majority of Scottish Labour backbenchers disagreeing with the plans.

It found 25 MPs with constituencies in Scotland were definitely against the proposals.

A further five said they were probably against.

Only 10 MPs said they were definitely or probably in favour.

The figure rises to 22 when government ministers, who were not surveyed but are obliged to support Mr Blair's position, are included.

The government has rushed into this decision
Menzies Campbell
Liberal Democrat leader

Seven MPs were unavailable, undecided or unable to take part.

The Defence Secretary Des Browne will seek to win over Scottish Labour MPs at a meeting of the Westminster group early next week.

Last week, Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm broke ranks with Mr Blair and First Minister Jack McConnell when he came out against renewing Trident.

Labour MP for Glasgow North Ann McKechin said she would not be backing the plans.

She said: "From my own individual conscience I can not think of a circumstance where the use of such weapons would be justified.

"There are very genuine concerns, I, like many of my other colleagues, believe in strong, conventional forces and we believe that is the best way we can achieve the best security and defence of our country."

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond called for Mr Blair to have a rethink on the policy.

He said: "Given this clear expression of Scottish opinion, including parliamentary representatives by majority, is he really intending to force this down the throats of Scotland?"

Liberal Democrat leader and Fife North East MP Menzies Campbell said: "The government has rushed into this decision."

QUESTION: The PM has announced plans to replace Trident. In terms of this proposal, are you:
Labour LibDem SNP Cons Payroll* Speaker+
Definitely against 11 8 6
Probably against 4 1
Probably in favour 2 1
Definitely in favour 6 1 12
Undecided 1
Unavailable 3 2 1

* - The payroll vote consists of 12 Scottish Labour MPs who are members of the UK government. They have not been surveyed, but are obliged to support the government's position

+ Non-aligned, unable to take part

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