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SNP And Scottish Labour Join Forces To Reject The Renewal Of Trident

In a rare moment of agreement, the two parties joined together in the Scottish parliament for a symbolic vote against nuclear weapons.

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Scottish Labour and the SNP have joined forces in the Scottish parliament to vote overwhelmingly against the renewal of the UK's nuclear weapons programme.

Defence is an issue reserved for the Westminster parliament, meaning Tuesday's vote in the Scottish parliament was purely symbolic, but the rare moment of agreement between Labour and the SNP sends a strong message against the renewal of Trident missiles, which are kept in Faslane, in the west of Scotland.

The motion, put forward by the SNP but amended by Labour, was backed by 96 MSPs in Holyrood and opposed by 16, meaning the vast majority of the Scottish parliament is now against the renewal of the Trident nuclear programme, which a recent Reuters report claimed could cost as much as £167 billion over its lifetime.

The Scottish parliament vote came after Scottish Labour's annual conference, where party members voted to change party policy and formally oppose the renewal of the weapons. Confusingly, this runs against the official UK-wide Labour party policy, but is in line with the personal views of leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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The SNP's infrastructure spokesman, Keith Brown, who led the debate for the SNP, said the vote was "very significant".

"We have a situation now where, if the voting goes as we expect it might go, we're going to have something like two-thirds of this chamber saying 'do not renew Trident'," said Brown. "We're going to have 57, perhaps, out of 59 of Scotland's MPs saying 'do not renew Trident'.

"And where is Trident going to be if it is renewed? It's going to be in Scotland. It's an extremely powerful message we send out today if we all support, or most of us support, a request to the UK government that is does not renew Trident."

Alex Rowley, the deputy leader of Scottish Labour, said the vote, although symbolic, was an important step in persuading the whole of the UK that Trident should not be renewed.

"The case, in terms of the moral argument against Trident, I think has been made," said Rowley. "The striking thing for me, looking at this debate, is the lack of debate which has taken place right across civic Scotland, right across civic UK.

"Hopefully the discussions on this issue that have been there over the weekend, and if this parliament passes the amendment motion today, hopefully we will start to generate a wider discussion across the United Kingdom so people will examine the arguments that are being made."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

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