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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
MSPs vote against Trident renewal
Nuclear submarine
MSPs debated the future of the Clyde-based submarines
The Scottish Parliament has voted against renewing Trident nuclear weapons - the first time Holyrood has taken a clear position on the issue.

The motion, backed by 71 MSPs to 16, with 39 abstentions, also congratulated the majority of Scots MPs for voting against a replacement system.

But it acknowledged that renewal was the responsibility of Westminster.

The Scottish government also announced that it was to hold a summit as part of its campaign against nuclear weapons.

The motion, backed by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens, was also voted for by several Labour MSPs - including Malcolm Chisholm, who resigned as a minister in the last government over the issue of Trident.

I wish we lived in a world without nuclear weapons . . . but we don't
Murdo Fraser MSP
Scottish Tory deputy leader

It was brought after a Westminster debate this year saw six SNP, 55 Lib Dem and 94 Labour MPs vote against replacement.

The majority of Labour MSPs abstained from the vote on the Holyrood motion, which was opposed by the Conservatives.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has already signalled his intention to push ahead with the 20bn replacement of the nuclear deterrent, based at Faslane on the Clyde.

During a Holyrood debate, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bruce Crawford said the SNP administration would do what it could to prevent that.

"It's our intention to hold a summit with key stakeholders to agree a joint position against Trident, to get the best ideas and proposals for an alliance of people across Scottish life who are opposed to the son of Trident," he said.

The Scottish Greens have proposed using Scottish powers to prevent the movement of nuclear weapons on Scotland's roads and seas.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie called on MSPs to express their opposition to renewal, adding: "If we do, the message from Scotland will be very clear - the majority of Scots rejecting this plan."

'Little support'

However, Labour's Michael McMahon said Holyrood should focus on matters where it has responsibility.

"The wishes of the Scottish people are to remain part of the United Kingdom and for defence matters to be represented in Westminster by MPs who are elected to go there to deal with that issue," he said.

Scots Tory deputy leader Murdo Fraser made the case for Britain retaining its nuclear deterrent, adding: "I wish we lived in a world without nuclear weapons, I wish we lived in a world where they had not been invented, or they could be uninvented.

"But we don't and none of these things are possible."

Scottish Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Mike Rumbles said he could not see any scenario in which the use of Trident could be justified.

"Indeed after spending 15 years of service in the Army, I found during that time, even during the Cold War, little support amongst my colleagues for the diversion of funds to strategic nuclear weapons at the expense of our conventional forces," he said.


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