A SURVEY that shows three out of four of Labour's General Election candidates oppose the renewal of Trident has raised SNP hopes of scrapping Britain's nuclear deterrent should the Nationalists hold the balance of power after May 7.


According to a snapshot of Labour's General Election hopefuls for CND, some 75 per cent opposed renewing Trident at a cost of £3 billion a year. Indeed, in Labour's target seats outwith the ones it already holds, opposition to the UK's nuclear deterrent rose to 80 per cent among party candidates.

The poll was described by CND as a "representative survey" but no details were given as to how many candidates were questioned.

UK Labour's official policy is to maintain the continuous at sea deterrent albeit at the cheapest price; Scottish Labour's policy is to scrap Trident. Jim Murphy, the party leader in Scotland and a former Shadow Defence Secretary, supports keeping Britain's nuclear deterrent, stressing that he is a multilateralist.

But Lou Haigh, the Labour hopeful in the safe seat of Sheffield Heeley, said: "Investment in nuclear is immoral in and of itself".

In Leeds East, fellow Labour candidate Richard Burgon, said: "Opposing the replacement of Trident is not only right as part of a practical strategy to create a safer world, it will also save the UK Government £100bn, which should be spent on hospitals, schools and job creation."

Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster, seized on the survey, claiming it suggested 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".

He argued that the poll was "hugely embarrassing" for Mr Murphy, who once again had "found himself on the same side as the Tories and against most of his fellow Westminster party candidates".

While Labour currently has a vociferous anti-nuclear faction, even among these MPs there is a feeling that scrapping Trident, were the SNP to hold the balance of power after the election, would be a step too far for Ed Miliband and his senior colleagues.

One anti-Trident Labour MP insisted the numbers to change the leadership's mind on renewal of the nuclear deterrent were simply not there. "There are the Greens, some Liberal Democrats and about 30 Labour MPs but that's not enough."

The backbencher also suggested it would be foolish of the SNP to push hard on Trident in any post-election confidence and supply talks with the Labour leadership. "Any party that chose Trident to try to blackmail or threaten Labour would be making a big mistake because they wouldn't get it."