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15/06/14 00:01

Trident removal should be set in law

Disarmament to be included in independent Scotland’s interim constitution.

An obligation to work towards nuclear disarmament should be a legal requirement in an independent Scotland, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will say in a keynote speech at Edinburgh University tomorrow.

The Scottish Government will propose that the removal of nuclear weapons from Scottish territory should be included in an independent Scotland’s interim constitution - placing a constitutional duty on the Scottish Government to negotiate towards the removal of Trident.

The draft interim constitution - which will be published for consultation with the people of Scotland shortly - will set out how an independent Scotland could prepare a permanent written constitution. It will also detail interim governance arrangements such as the role of government and the protection of human rights.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“We believe nuclear weapons have no place in Scotland, and have made clear our intention to negotiate for the removal of Trident within the first parliamentary term of an independent Scotland. Now, following consultation with the people of Scotland, these plans could be bound by constitutional law.

“Scottish taxpayers have been paying to have one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons in Europe on our doorsteps. It’s high time that comes to an end. The people of Scotland now have the opportunity to remove Trident before we are hit with a share of the further £100 billion in costs for a new generation of weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde.

“The Scottish Government will also propose, for the permanent constitution, a constitutional prohibition on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland. This way they would never return.

“The draft interim constitution will be published for consultation shortly. The interim constitution will help Scotland become an independent country. It will then be for Parliament to establish an independent constitutional convention encompassing civic society to draft a permanent constitution for Scotland.

“Our constitution would be founded on the principle that in Scotland the people are sovereign, not the Government or the Parliament.

“We want to make the drafting of our permanent written constitution a fully inclusive process involving all the people of Scotland – it must be a constitution by the people, for the people.

“The UK is the only country within the European Union or the Commonwealth that does not have a written constitution or a constitution Act. Only independence can ensure that this changes for the future"