Trident jobs threatened by Labour says Michael Fallon
Labour’s division over the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system jeopardises thousands of jobs in Scotland, the UK Defence Secretary has warned.
Scottish Labour voted overwhelmingly against renewal of the weapons on the Clyde at party conference in October, a position backed by UK leader Jeremy Corbyn, although Jackie Baillie MSP, some members of the UK shadow cabinet and some vocal backbenchers are keen.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland this morning, Fallon said scrapping Trident could endanger millions of pounds of investment for Scotland. It is expected he will announce further investment at the Scottish Conservatives conference on Friday.
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"The GMB union understand that the Trident programme is going ahead. We are renewing these boats now, we're spending money on them and we're creating the skilled jobs in the Trident programme.
"Now the only threat to that is Labour. It is Labour that would jeopardise that programme, that would jeopardise those jobs by cancelling the deterrent and I hope they never get into power to do it," he said.
But Scottish Labour responded that Fallon had "built a reputation on this kind of aggressive politics".
A party spokesman added: "Now he wants to bring those tactics to Scotland which only goes to prove that the Tories have learnt nothing and it will do nothing for their electoral chances in May as can be seen from their falling poll numbers."
But Jackie Baillie, who was the only Labour MSP to vote in support of renewal in a vote in Holyrood in November, told BBC Good Morning Scotland: "I have represented the Dumbarton area for 16 years now. I have been a defender of jobs at the base and my challenge to every political party is - this is the single biggest site employer in Scotland. There are 11,000 jobs there. No-one yet has come forward with a credible plan to replace those jobs and frankly the loss of that employment would devastate my local community."