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George Osborne making ‘wrong moral choice’ on nuclear weapons via The Guardian

Scotland’s deputy first minister accuses chancellor of jumping gun by announcing extra £500m for Trident base

Scotland’s deputy first minister has accused George Osborne of making “the wrong moral choice” on nuclear weapons after the chancellor announced £500m of extra spending at the Trident submarine base in Faslane.

John Swinney accused Osborne of jumping the gun by making the announcement before the Commons could have a full debate on Trident’s renewal and the future shape of the UK’s defences.

Osborne, who was visiting the base on the shores of Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute on Monday, announced a further £500m to upgrade and expand its infrastructure, including jetties and seawalls. All the UK’s nuclear and conventional submarines will be based there from 2020.

Osborne said the investment was a dividend for Scotland remaining part of the UK. He also claimed that a Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn, allied with the anti-nuclear Scottish National party, would pose a threat to national security by undermining the future of Trident.

[…]

A final Commons vote on renewing Trident is due in 2016 and the debate is expected to be one of the most divisive yet on British nuclear weapons with 56 SNP members having been elected on a strong anti-nuclear platform, and a resurgence of anti-nuclear sentiment in the Labour party with Corbyn’s leadership campaign.

It could also increase political divisions between Scotland and the rest of the UK – a fear likely to have strongly influenced Osborne’s decision to press the case for new jobs and investment at Faslane on an official visit before the Commons resumes.

As it stands, only two of Scotland’s 59 MPs, the Tory Scottish secretary, David Mundell, and the former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael, support nuclear weapons: Ian Murray, Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary and its sole MP in Scotland, has said publicly he will vote against renewing Trident. Swinney said a number of Tory MPs also preferred higher spending on conventional forces to new nuclear weapons.

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