UK, Scotland & the TPNW

The Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons TPNW is the most significant legislative move for nuclear disarmament in a long time. It addresses the shortcomings in the NPT, with prohibition made clear enough to lead to elimination.


The Scottish Government and Parliament are already in favour of the Treaty but they are being disregarded by the UK Government, which has no choice but to site its nuclear arsenal in Scotland. This was, and remains, a key issue in the debate on Scottish independence, and when the Scottish message is amplified in the rest of the country it weakens the UK Government claim of democratic mandate to maintain and renew theUK’s nuclear weapons.

The UK claims a democratic mandate to pursue upgrading the nuclear weapons at Faslane. But the UK government rides roughshod over the views Scotland has clearly expressed through the appropriate democratic processes. Westminster is not only dismissing what we want domestically but is actively misrepresenting us on the world stage.

Scotland with its distinct legal system has very clear rights and responsibilities under international humanitarian law. It is time to insist that nuclear weapons are removed from the country with the political agreement of its citizens, expressed through its elected representatives.

In tackling the very real risks to local communities presented by the warhead convoys, by focusing on the implications relating to climate change,by remaining connected to the intergovernmental possibilities, we can find the cracks and drive the wedges in. Climate change increases the likelihood of nuclear weapons being used. Severe weather crises cause food and fresh water scarcity. Increasing rates of human migration adds pressure on fragile governments, and these factors all increase conflict.

For these reasons, combating climate change must include the global banning of nuclear weapons. Scottish legislation on climate change is ambitious (despite Westminster’s control of our share of our economic resources, and difficulties in implementing it) and critical.