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Commons to debate Trident safety

Published 22/05/2015

The Royal Navy's Trident-class nuclear submarine Vanguard
The Royal Navy's Trident-class nuclear submarine Vanguard

The safety of Trident nuclear weapons is to be debated at Westminster next week.

The SNP said it had secured the debate on safety at the Clyde naval base for next Thursday.

The party says it will press the UK government on recent claims made by a whistleblower concerning the Trident programme.

Able Seaman William McNeilly, 25, went absent without leave last week after producing an 18-page report containing a series of allegations about the Trident submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde.

His report alleged 30 safety and security flaws on the submarines, describing them as a ''disaster waiting to happen''.

He was later apprehended at Edinburgh Airport and is now in military police custody.

The Royal Navy has said it disagrees with Mr McNeilly's "subjective and unsubstantiated" views and said it takes the operation of its submarines and the safety of its personnel extremely seriously.

At Holyrood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted that a "top-level'' inquiry into the allegations should take place without delay.

Speaking ahead of the House of Commons debate, former SNP leader Alex Salmond, the party's foreign affairs spokesman, said: "This is the SNP in action - standing up for Scotland - in the first week of Parliament.

"The SNP will continue to keep the pressure on the Government until we are satisfied that not only have they have investigated Mr McNeilly's claims thoroughly and have acted on the findings, but that those findings are put into the public domain.

"Trident is a key issue for people in Scotland. It is bad enough that Scotland is forced to house these weapons of mass destruction but these alleged breaches of security are deeply worrying - there must be absolutely no complacency."

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "The Royal Navy would like to reiterate that we take the operation of our submarines and the safety of our personnel extremely seriously. We continue to fully investigate the circumstances of this issue and ministers will update Parliament at the earliest opportunity."

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