Government to annex Trident base in independent Scotland? Not credible, says No 10

 

The Government has downplayed reports that it is considering controversial plants to annex its Trident nuclear base in Scotland amid a storm of protests from Scottish politicians.

According to reports, Ministry of Defence officials are exploring the idea of classifying the Faslane naval base on Gare Loch as a sovereign UK territory ahead of a potential ‘yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independent next year.

The Trident outpost, which houses Britain’s fleet of Vanguard nuclear submarines, has been a political focal point for Scotland's ‘yes’ campaign, which has struggled to capitalise on initial, short-lived excitement surrounding the referendum.

As a result, the Scottish Independence Party (SNP) has pledged to expel nuclear weapons from the country should they secure independence, reportedly leaving the Coalition in the difficult position of choosing to relocate the base or co-opt the area into the new UK.

The latter would leave the military dock with the same status as similar bases in Cyprus, which have long been treated as sovereign territory.

Suggesting the creation of contingency plans for a Scottish vote to withdraw from the Union, a government source told The Guardian: "The sovereign base area is an option - it is an interesting idea because the costs of moving out of Faslane are eye-wateringly high."

However, Number 10 this morning said it was not "credible or sensible" to designate Faslane as sovereign UK territory in the event of Scottish independence. Downing Street later Tweeted: "This govt has not commissioned contingency plans over Faslane. No such ideas have come to SoS [Secretary of State] or PM. They would not support them if they did."

The reversal follows a string of attacks from leading SNP figures. Speaking yesterday, Angus Robertson, leader of the party in Westminster, said: "This is an extraordinary attempt by Westminster to bully Scotland. Neither the people nor parliament of Scotland want nuclear weapons dumped here, and we are clear that Trident would have to be removed as quickly as possible.

“Only a yes vote next September will empower Scotland to get rid of Trident, and the money saved help build a fairer society and stronger economy."

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added such a move could not go ahead without the agreement of the Scottish Government, which would by unlikely.

"This seems to me to be an outrageous attempt at bullying by the UK Government," Ms Sturgeon told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme. "I can't see how they could do that without the agreement of the Scottish Government and speaking for my party that is not an agreement that would be forthcoming."

She insisted it was a "preposterous threat from the UK Government" and added: "I think it would be far better for the UK Government, rather than issuing threats via the media, if they were to sit down round a table with us now and have a sensible, grown up discussion about what we need to do to get rid of Trident in the event of a Yes vote."

Ms Sturgeon continued: "Politicians, often and sometimes justifiably, get criticised for a lack of principle - getting rid of Trident is an issue of principle, certainly for the party and government that I represent.

"It's not a bargaining chip. Trident nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction that we're supposedly trying to get rid of from the rest of the world, are not right, they're immoral, they don't serve any useful purpose, they take up obscene amounts of money that would be better spent on conventional forces, on social and public services."

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game