Ian Blackford said today the SNP will draw up a ‘wish list’ of demands ahead of potential post-election cooperation talks with Labour as he hinted a commitment to scrapping the UK’s nuclear deterrent could be one of the party’s red lines.
The SNP’s Westminster leader suggested his party will be well prepared if the general election on December 12 results in a hung parliament.
The SNP would be unlikely to form a coalition government with Labour but Nicola Sturgeon has made clear she could be open to an informal arrangement to work together.
The price of SNP support could be high with Ms Sturgeon demanding a second independence referendum take place before the end of next year.
Meanwhile, Mr Blackford today made clear his party’s opposition to the renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system in a hint that it could be on the table during any negotiations with Labour.
Ian Blackford, pictured in London today as he attended a Remembrance Sunday service at The Cenotaph, said this morning the SNP will draw up a ‘wish list’ for potential cooperation talks with Labour
Jeremy Corbyn, pictured this morning in London, is a long-standing opponent of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent
MPs voted in July 2016 to renew Trident as they gave the green light to building four new replacement submarines to carry the UK’s nuclear missiles.
Labour MPs were given a free vote on the issue and the majority backed renewal but Jeremy Corbyn voted against maintaining Britain’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent.
The SNP has long campaigned against nuclear weapons and has repeatedly called for the UK’s submarines to be moved from their current home at Clyde Naval Base on the west coast of Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister and SNP leader, said in 2015 that scrapping Trident would be a red line in talks with Labour about propping up a minority administration.
Mr Blackford was asked if the same red line still applied and he told Sky News: ‘We will come up with a wish list of things that we want to see. But I think it is fair to say there are a number of things which are at the top of our list.’
The SNP Westminster leader said issues like ending austerity would also be on the list as he was pressed further on what he would want regarding Trident.
‘We’ve been pretty consistent down through the decades that we don’t wish to see nuclear weapons on our soil,’ he said.
‘We want to make sure of course that we take our responsibilities for defence seriously, and I think it’s important to say that today of all days when we’ve got Remembrance Sunday to look forward to.
MPs voted in July 2016 to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system. Four new Dreadnought-class submarines will be built to carry the missiles and they will replace the existing Vanguard-class. HMS Victorious, one of four Vanguard submarines, is pictured on patrol off the west coast of Scotland in April 2013
‘But we don’t believe that we should be investing in those weapons of mass destruction.
‘But there are a number of things that we want to see, we want to see the end of austerity.’
Mr Blackford said the SNP would tell Labour ‘that these weapons are not fit for purpose’ in a clear hint that scrapping Trident could be the price of his party’s support.
It came as Nia Griffith, the shadow defence secretary, said Labour remained committed to Trident but refused to say whether Mr Corbyn would be willing to give the order to authorise a nuclear strike if he becomes PM.
Ms Griffith said Labour is ‘absolutely committed to keeping the nuclear deterrent’.