In this Press Release from the UK’s Scottish Nationalist Party Michael Portillo (former Conservative Defence Secretary) and Bill Kidd (Member of the Scottish Parliament) respond to UK Prime Minister’s statements in Scotland on nuclear deterrence.
David Cameron was facing derision today after a former Tory Defence Secretary poured scorn on his claims that the threat of North Korea justified paying up to £100 billion to replace Trident.
During his visit to Scotland earlier this week, David Cameron claimed that “the fact is North Korea does have nuclear technology that is able to reach the whole of the United States. If they are able to reach the whole of the United States, they can reach Europe too. They can reach us, too.”
However, the Prime Minister’s statement of ‘fact’ flies in the face of expert opinion which has concluded that the idea that a North Korean nuclear weapon could reach the United States, let alone Europe is “extremely unlikely.”
Former Defence Secretary Michael Portillo is quoted in today’s Times (Friday) describing the idea that the UK would use nuclear weapons against North Korea as “absurd” and poured scorn on the idea that “Germany and Italy are trembling in their boots because they don’t have a nuclear deterrent.” Michael Portillo also restated his opposition to renewing Trident, saying: “I don’t believe in the modern world it is necessary for Britain to have one.” (Michael Portillo challenges Cameron’s ‘absurd’ North Korea nuclear claim, The Times of London, 5 April 2013).
A decade ago in the run up to the Iraq war, Tony Blair claimed that Iraq was capable of launching an attack with weapons of mass destruction at 45 minutes’ notice in order to justify invasion. No evidence of such weapons was ever found.
Commenting, Scottish National Party MSP Bill Kidd, who is a Co-President of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), said: “David Cameron’s bizarre comments yesterday are beyond belief and have rightly been met with outright derision.
“It is simply nonsense to try to argue that North Korea’s behaviour justifies wasting up to £100 billion on new Trident nuclear weapons, and even Michael Portillo, a former Tory Defence Secretary, has described David Cameron’s claims as ‘absurd’.
“Ten years on from Tony Blair’s dodgy dossier and it seems another Westminster Prime Minister is determined to use inflated threats of WMDs to justify his own ends.
“Where Tony Blair was determined to distort facts to justify invasion, David Cameron seems to be following suit to justify wasting up to £100 billion on a new generation of Trident weapons of mass destruction to be dumped on the Clyde for another 50 years.
“Polls show that four- fifths of people in Scotland do not want weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde – our Parliament has voted against Trident – and no amount of scaremongering from David Cameron will change these facts.”
“With the anti-independence No campaign firmly committed to nuclear weapons, the only way in which Scotland can rid itself of Trident is with a Yes vote for an independent Scotland in September 2014.”