Scotland politics

SNP conference: No truth in Trident U-turn claim, says Swinney

Cabinet minister John Swinney has said there is "no truth" in claims the SNP might ditch its policy on removing nuclear weapons from Scotland.

His comments came following speculation the UK government might back a pound-sharing deal under independence if Trident stayed at Faslane on the Clyde.

But Mr Swinney said the SNP's position on the issue was "fundamental".

He also declined to be drawn on whether the referendum would be re-run in the event of a "No" vote on 18 September.

The SNP's pledge to remove Trident submarines from the Faslane naval base is, along with independence, one of the party's most important aims.

The policy was questioned after The Guardian newspaper quoted an unnamed UK minister saying a formal currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK might happen if, for example, Trident stayed in Scotland.

However, such a deal has been ruled out by the UK government.

During a BBC interview at the SNP spring conference in Aberdeen, Mr Swinney was asked if the party might agree to Trident remaining in Scotland in the event of a referendum "Yes" vote.

The Scottish finance secretary replied: "There's no truth in that whatsoever and the SNP government has been very clear.

"One of the policies of independence is to remove nuclear weapons from Scottish waters and Scottish soil, and that's the position that I and my colleagues have held fundamentally throughout all of our political lives and it's not going to change."

Mr Swinney was also asked whether the independence referendum - previously described by First Minister Alex Salmond as a "once-in-a-generation" event - may be re-run several times in the future, in the event of a "No" vote this year.

He replied: "Once in a generation means we have this opportunity in our generation in September."

Mr Swinney, who pointed out there was a Scottish devolution referendum in 1979, and one 18 years later in 1997, added: "I'm just going to make sure that I concentrate all my efforts on winning the referendum in September."

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