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Labour 'will commit to Trident'

A Labour government will commit to renewing Trident, a key member of Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet has confirmed.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said the party's election manifesto will contain a commitment to renewing the nuclear deterrent.

The renewal of Trident is a major election issue in Scotland, where the SNP is committed to scrapping the nuclear weapons system.

Labour's support for maintaining the nuclear deterrent could be a stumbling block to any post-election deal with the SNP.

On BBC Radio 5's Pienaar's Politics, Mr Khan was asked about reports that Lord Wood, another member of Mr Miliband's inner circle, wanted to abandon Labour's commitment to Trident.

Asked to confirm that Labour will stick to the promise to renew the weapons system, Mr Khan said: "I can and I do. And you'll see the manifesto published shortly which will say that."

The fleet of four Vanguard-class submarines which carry the Trident missiles are due to be replaced from 2028, with a final decision on whether to replace all four due to be taken in 2016 - after the 2015 election.

Asked whether Labour's commitment would be "pretty much a like for like replacement" for the system, Mr Khan said: "Y eah, I mean this has been discussed many, many times, not just within the Labour Party but in Parliament as well."

The SNP's Westminster leader and defence spokesman Angus Robertson said: "These comments show that the Labour leadership is totally out of touch with the people of Scotland and even with the wishes of three-quarters of their candidates, who oppose Trident renewal.

"This suggests a growing awareness south of the border that Scotland could well be in a powerful position in the next Westminster parliament by electing a strong team of SNP MPs - making scrapping the renewal of Trident entirely achievable.

"An absolute priority for a strong team of SNP MPs elected in May will be getting Trident renewal halted.

"The more MPs we get elected, the greater the chances of holding the balance of power and achieving the end of Trident, which will free up enormous resources.

"The cost of Trident renewal is some £3 billion a year, rising to £4 billion in the 2020s - and this money could and should be far more productively spent on health and education, including childcare.

"No sensible UK government would develop a nuclear weapons capability now if one didn't exist.

"Therefore, a strong group of SNP MPs in a hung parliament can help bring sanity to bear now - and halt Trident renewal in its tracks."


From Belfast Telegraph