Saturday, 11 May 2013

Most Scots Support Nuclear Deterrent

A majority of Scottish people support a new nuclear deterrent, according to a new poll.

Carried out by Lord Ashcroft, the survey found 51% of Scots think Trident should be replaced and 43% believe the UK's nuclear stockpile should remain in Scotland.

The figures are significant because the impression had previously been that Scotland was generally opposed to having a nuclear deterrent based in the country - something the SNP has been keen to point out.

Lord Ashcroft, a Conservative peer, carried this poll out independently of his Tory loyalties but it will certainly be read with interest in Downing Street.

The Government has pushed the defence argument strongly of late to exploit the lack of a credible defence policy from the SNP.

The findings are contrary to a similar poll carried out in February, which recorded 60% opposition to a nuclear replacement, but Lord Ashcroft points out that this survey was conducted for CND and the wording of the question was misleading.

"Trying to show that people think what you want them to think is not the same thing as trying to find out what they really do think," he said.

"I am more interested in the latter - so last week I asked what people in Scotland really do think about Trident.

"In the event of Scotland becoming independent, only half of Scots thought Britain's nuclear weapons should cease to be based at Faslane; 35% would be happy to see the UK lease the naval base, with 15% undecided.

"Again, those in favour of independence opposed the idea by more than two to one."

Earlier this year David Cameron visited HMS Victorious, one of the Vanguard class nuclear submarines.

He used the visit to push the case for the Union and to make the point that if Scotland were to vote for independence, thousands of jobs would be lost in the defence industry - especially if the nuclear deterrent was moved south.

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