Protest over SNP vote on reversal of Nato policy

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Anti-Nato campaigners have held a protest ahead of an SNP vote over whether to reverse its long-standing opposition to membership of the organisation.

Members of the No to Nato Scotland Coalition drew a trail of thousands of chalk-stick figures on the pavement from the SNP headquarters just off the Royal Mile to the door of the Scottish Parliament.

The group said it aims to draw almost 27,000 of the figures, representing the estimated 20,000 civilians and 4000 troops killed in conflicts involving Nato.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson has set out his case for a proposed U-turn of the policy.

Mr Robertson, also the party’s Westminster leader, said: “I am looking forward to a quality debate on the SNP’s defence policy update at conference, including reaffirming our long-standing commitment to get rid of Trident nuclear weapons in Scotland.

“I know other parties are jealous of a party which still takes major issues to conference for decision by members and delegates.”

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The First Minister supports the [pro-Nato] policy as party leader. It is an issue that will be debated at party conference very soon and as such, it is clearly a party matter.”