The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has today (17 July) expressed concern at the news that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is to reconsider its stance against NATO membership.
The SNP has revealed that a motion on NATO membership, put forward by the party's leadership, will be considered at its conference in the autumn. The announcement comes amid serious questions over the future of Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system in the event of Scottish independence.
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, praised the SNP's long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons as "admirable" but warned that NATO membership could scupper efforts to remove Trident from the Clyde.
"The SNP has a long and admirable history of opposition to nuclear weapons – which has been a fundamental pillar in SNP policy and a strong source of support over the years." she said.
"Their commitment to the rejection of Trident from the Clyde has been welcomed both north and south of the border. But they must be aware that in reconsidering NATO membership, they are potentially jeopardising their ability to remove Trident from an independent Scotland.
"NATO reaffirmed its status as a nuclear alliance in its most recent 'Strategic Concept' in 2010. While Norway and Denmark have both been presented as potential models for Scotland – as NATO members without nuclear weapons – more salient lessons are to be learnt from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
"In the first instance, Norway and Denmark were never nuclear weapons states – and it is rather a different matter for a country to reject nuclear weapons which form part of NATO's nuclear framework and then ask to become a member."
She concluded: "But more worryingly, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have all called for the removal of US nuclear weapons from their countries and have been unable to extricate themselves from the nuclear obligations of NATO: thus remaining hosts to US tactical nukes. Their experience should provide a stark warning to the SNP of the realities of NATO membership."