04/10/2018 20:00 BST

Labour Must Scrap Nuclear Weapons Programme To Get SNP Election Deal, Says MP

Jeremy Corbyn may need Nicola Sturgeon's backing to make it into Number 10.

The SNP would demand Labour scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons programme in any election pact that puts Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10, the party’s defence spokesman has said. 

Nicola Sturgeon’s party dominates politics north of the border, holding 35 of 59 seats, and unless Corbyn secures a major landslide victory when voters next go to the polls, it is likely he will need to broker a deal to clinch power. 

But Stewart McDonald said the SNP would not set aside its opposition to weapons of mass destruction and that the issue could be a “red line” for the First Minister of Scotland. 

Despite Corbyn having personally campaigned for unilateral disarmament and saying he would never deploy a nuclear weapon as Prime Minister, the Labour Party’s official position is to renew Trident. 

PA Archive/PA Images
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon address protesters at a Stop Trident protest rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

In an interview with The House magazine, McDonald said: “On the issue of nuclear weapons of course there has to be a serious discussion that says, ‘you want to get rid of them, we want to get rid of them, let’s work out a way we can make that happen’.

“I hope that if Jeremy’s in the position to form a government, perhaps with an arrangement with the Scottish National Party, then that [scrapping Trident] should be one of the key planks of any discussion that we have. Because Corbyn agrees with us on this. He has a long and honourable history of agreeing with us on this.

“We’d ultimately have an opportunity, the first opportunity that would have presented itself in British history, for Britain to get rid of nuclear weapons. We would be mad, and Jeremy Corbyn would be mad, not to grab that opportunity.”

He added that Sturgeon was likely to take a strong line on the issue should Labour be on the cusp of power and need their support. 

He said: “The red lines will be decided by the First Minister and it’s entirely sensible that the First Minister is able to set those red lines.

“But knowing the First Minister as I do, as a lifelong anti-nuclear campaigner – in fact I think she joined the CND before she joined the SNP – that’s going to be pretty high up on her agenda. Of course it is.”