Jackie Baillie has today called on the Labour Party to maintain its longstanding commitment to the renewal of Trident in her submission to the party’s ongoing review of defence policy.
In a letter to Emily Thornberry MP, the Shadow Secretary of Defence and Chair of the review, Jackie said that scrapping Trident would put over 13,000 local jobs at risk, and threaten many thousands more across Scotland and the UK.
According to the official MOD figures, 6800 people are directly employed by the Royal Navy and its contractors on the site. A further 4500 jobs are dependent on the base through the supply chain and the local economy. On top of that, the Ministry of Defence expects the directly employed workforce to rise by 2000 in the next few years when Faslane becomes the sole base for the UK’s whole submarine fleet.
Jackie hit out at those who want to scrap Trident without putting in place any detailed plans to replace the existing jobs which depend on the base. She said that previous attempts to come up with plans to diversify the defence manufacturing sector had completely failed and that there need to be guarantees for local workers.
Regardless of the outcome of the review, Jackie also pledged to put jobs before gestures and back local workers even if it means taking a different position from her party.
“I will stand up for local jobs by continuing to make the case for maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent at Faslane and Coulport. This is a position I have held consistently during my 16 years as the MSP for this area and I will continue to defend the jobs of base workers. I will always put the interests of local people ahead of my party.
“There will be a vote on Trident renewal later this year in the House of Commons and a substantial number of Labour MPs are likely to support renewal. I will continue to stand by the workforce at Faslane and Coulport whatever happens