Alex Salmond has given warning that it would be a “fatal mistake” for the UK government to proceed with its plan to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrent, refusing to rule out calling a second independence referendum if it does so.
“This government would be making a fatal mistake if they believed that for the sake of this costly trumpery that this useless, expensive, unlawful and inherently dangerous military plaything is going to be tolerated by these benches, this party or this country any longer,” said Mr Salmond.
Asked by reporters after the debate whether he saw the renewal of Trident as a possible trigger for a second independence referendum, he said: “You would have to ask Nicola Sturgeon [the first minister] whether this counts as a change in material circumstances.”
Referring to the SNP’s landslide election victory in Scotland, which gave his party 56 out of 59 seats, he added: “The government will have to take notice that they cannot go forward with the position that they used to.”
Mr Salmond was speaking during a debate about a military investigation into allegations made by William McNeilly, who worked on the Faslane base.
Mr McNeilly, a submariner, made a series of claims about the Trident weapons programme in a long online report.
He said it was harder to get into most nightclubs than into the area housing the submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles at the Faslane naval base. He said there were significant technical defects on the boats themselves, catalogued potential fire risks and leaks, and added that safety checks were rarely carried out on contractors working on the boats.
He called the system as a whole a “disaster waiting to happen”.