Only a quarter of people in Britain think the UK should scrap its nuclear weapons compared with nearly half in Scotland, a poll has suggested.

The divide in opinion on nuclear weapons on either side of the border is evidenced in a YouGov poll for the Times, where 56% of UK respondents want to replace Trident compared with 42% in Scotland.

Just 25% of UK respondents want it scrapped compared with 48% in Scotland, the poll of 1,656 adults on January 25 and 26 found.

Loading article content

When Scotland's 144 respondents are removed, support for Trident south of the border rises to around three-fifths while support for scrapping it falls further.

Scottish opinion on nuclear weapons could have a material impact on UK politics following the general election, with a resurgent SNP offering to prop up a UK Labour government in exchange for concessions on issues like Trident.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has steadfastly opposed unilateral UK disarmament but a U-turn could be a vote winner, with 33% of Scots saying they would be more favourable towards Labour if it agreed to scrap Trident compared with 18% who said they would be less favourable.

Opinion across the UK is more split, with 20% saying they would be less favourable towards Labour if the party agreed to scrap Trident compared with 18% who said they would be more favourable.

Moving Trident out of Scotland and basing it in England could be a vote winner for Ed Miliband, with 18% saying it would make them more favourable to Labour compared with 12% who said they would be less favourable.

However, about a third of respondents said they they are unfavourable towards Labour anyway and a shift on Trident would make no difference, compared with just a tenth who said they are currently favourable towards Labour.

The future of Trident was a key battleground in the independence referendum, with the UK Government warning of a massive relocation bill if an independent SNP Government ordered Trident out of Scotland.

If Scotland becomes independent in the future, 41% of UK respondents said the UK Government should build a new base south of the border compared with 23% who said they should scrap it and 18% who said they should negotiate a deal to keep it in Scotland.