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Nuclear Weapons – Letter from Brendan O’Hara MP

Dear Marian

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the UK Government’s abhorrent decision to increase its nuclear arsenal.

As you will know, the UKs nuclear weapons are based in Argyll & Bute and alongside my SNP colleagues, I have signed EDM 1667 which opposes the plans to increase the number of these weapons in Scotland, against the will of the Scottish people. You can find this EDM here: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/58299

Once again, the government not only seems hell-bent on continuing to spend billions on weapons of mass destruction but they actually want to spend even more on them. The government’s recent review commits to increasing the stockpile of warheads.
Not only are the Tories cutting conventional forces and abandoning the world’s poorest, they are taking the proactive and fundamentally unnecessary step of ordering yet more weapons of mass destruction (from 180 to 260 – a 40% increase).

Even in parking our objections to Trident as a matter of principle this is fundamentally non-sensical. David Cullen, the director of the Nuclear Information Service said “If this is confirmed, this would be a highly provocative move. The UK has repeatedly pointed to its reducing warhead stockpile as evidence that it is fulfilling its legal duties under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. If they are tearing up decades of progress in reducing numbers, it will be a slap in the face to the 190 other members of the treaty, and will be regarded as a shocking breach of faith”.

The CND have estimated the cost of Trident to be as high as £205 billion.

While the government sees fit to spend billions on nuclear weapons, it has neglected other very obvious (and even legally-binding) priorities.

The Integrated Review says that the UK will return to 0.7% ODA spend – it should never have left the commitment to begin with.

Any end to the 0.7% commitment constitutes a clearly broken manifesto commitment from the government.

The UK government has shamefully given NHS workers in England a real-terms cut (where in Scotland under the SNP they’ve had a 4% increase) – this is frankly shameful and a subject for embarrassment given the year these public servants have had.

This government has presided over base closures, outdated equipment, languishing personnel satisfaction, cuts to personnel, one of the smallest Navies in the history of the UK, and broken promises to Scotland – the government must get a grip of these issues instead of breaking the UK’s commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The SNP’s Westminster Group Leader Ian Blackford repeatedly condemned the decision to spend millions more on nuclear weapons when it was first announced on 17 March.

One of the reasons that the SNP is campaigning for an independent Scotland is to ensure that Scottish public money is never again wasted on an outdated and excessive nuclear arsenal which is located near some of Scotland’s biggest population centres, and right on our doorstep here in Argyll.

The SNP will remove nuclear weapons from Scotland with independence speedily and responsibly. Scotland’s share of the £2.5 billion spent on Trident annually equals £204 million a year – this could instead train 10,552 nurses, 4,080 doctors, 6,415 police officers, or 24,329 teachers: any of these things would make Scots safer than nuclear weapons ever would.

I hope this information makes clear the SNPs outright opposition to these weapons of mass destruction, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

If you would like to follow my work in Parliament or see how I have voted on defence issues, please sign up to https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Yours sincerely,

Brendan