For the Daily Record
ALEX Salmond has warned the UK government will be making a “fatal mistake” to renew the Trident submarines against the wishes of Scotland.
The former First Minister said it was “totally untenable to make a half century decision” to renew the Clyde-based nuclear deterrent in the face of opposition of 57 Scottish MPs, the Scottish government and much of the opposition.
The SNP MP was speaking after Commons debate on the allegations of Trident whistleblower Able Seaman William McNeilly who has claimed a catalogue of safety breaches aboard the subs.
In a signal that a Commons vote on Trident next year could be the SNP’s trigger for a second independence referendum, Salmond told MPs: “This costly, useless,expensive, unlawful and inherently dangerous military plaything will not be tolerated by these benches, this party or this country any longer.”
Salmond insisted afterwards that a referendum decision would be for Nicola Sturgeon, but made it clear the SNP is shaping up for a battle royal with the UK government over Trident.
SNP Defence spokesman Brendan O’Hara MP renewed calls for a “full, transparent investigation” into McNeilly’s allegations after Tory Defence Minister Penny Morduant said that neither the operational safety of the subs or the safety of mariners had been compromised.
O’ Hara said the Ministry of Defence had dismissed 18 pages of safety concerns raised by McNeilly in a 500 word statement .
He questioned whether the claims had been properly investigated.
“Many issues have been raised and it would take far longer than a week to investigate them all,” said O’Hara.
The Argyll and Bute MP added that he would make himself available to McNeilly after asking if the sailor had been given any access to legal counsel.
Mordaunt said McNeilly had returned to duty after being arrested for being absent without leave and has not been charged with any offence.