SNP considers Nato policy change

Image caption,
The SNP has been opposed to Nato membership for more than 30 years

The Scottish National Party will debate reversing its long-standing opposition to membership of Nato at its annual conference in October.

The party, which has a strong anti-nuclear stance, has opposed being part of the military alliance for more than 30 years.

The issue will be put to delegates as part of a blueprint of how defence would look in an independent Scotland.

The SNP says a number of Nato member countries do not have nuclear weapons.

Should Scotland become independent after the referendum expected in autumn 2014, the SNP said it would remove the UK's Trident nuclear weapons, based on the Clyde.

It would spend the "resulting savings" on a defence force of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel.

The SNP said that, after independence, Scotland would "inherit its international treaty obligations including those with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato)" and would "remain a member, subject to agreement on withdrawal of Trident from Scotland".

The SNP currently advocates Scotland becoming a member of Partnership for Peace, like Sweden, Austria, Finland and Ireland, which allows bilateral cooperation between Nato and non-Nato countries.

It is understood the SNP leadership has already been considering changing the party's policy on Nato.

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