SNP to go ahead with plan to drop vow to leave Nato

Angus Robertson: 'Proposals will deliver increase of service personnel in Scotland'

Angus Robertson: 'Proposals will deliver increase of service personnel in Scotland'

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THE leadership of the SNP is to push ahead with plans to drop the party’s long-standing vow to take an independent Scotland out of Nato.

But the move is set to anger many rank and file Nationalists.

Delegates at the SNP conference in October will be asked whether they should permit independent Scotland to remain in Nato “subject to agreement on withdrawal of Trident from Scotland”.

SNP defence spokesman and Westminster leader Angus Robertson called the conference resolution the “first significant defence policy update in ten years which at its heart prepares for better defence 
decision-making in Scotland”.

Current SNP policy favours “co-operation with international alliances such as Nato through its Partnership for Peace programme while not 
being a member”.

The new resolution states: “An SNP Government will maintain Nato membership subject to an agreement that Scotland will not host nuclear weapons and Nato continues to respect the right of members to only take part in UN-sanctioned operations.

“In the absence of such an agreement, Scotland will work with Nato as a member of the Partnership for Peace 
programme.”

Such a position would put Scotland on the same footing as 25 out of 28 Nato member states who do not possess their own nuclear weapons.

Five Nato states currently host US nuclear weapons: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey. Canada stopped hosting US nuclear weapons in 1984 and Greece in 2001.

The Nato resolution will be part of a wider foreign, security and defence policy update, which will be put to the vote in Perth between October 18 and 21.

But SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn was today quoted saying he “may well consider” trying to block the move.

Party business managers were said to have circulated an e-mail warning MSPs they may be contacted by the media on the issue but telling them: “An opportunity for all members to express their views will of course present itself at conference, when the resolution and any amendments will be debated.”

Mr Robertson, also party spokesman on defence, said: “These proposals will deliver an increase of service personnel in Scotland, restore and protect Scottish units and bases as well as address significant UK capability gaps.

“With agreement on the withdrawal of Trident and retaining the important role of the UN, Scotland can continue working with neighbours and allies within Nato.”