ALEX Salmond has warned David Cameron that pushing ahead with the renewal of Trident would be a "fatal mistake" Scotland would not tolerate.


The former SNP First Minister attacked the UK's nuclear deterrent on the Clyde as a "useless...military plaything" during his first Commons address since returning to Westminster.

Asked if the replacement of the ageing missile system could trigger a second independence referendum, however, he said: "The question of what is and what is not a change in material circumstances is one for (First Minister) Nicola Sturgeon. "

The SNP also questioned whether defence ministers had had time to properly investigate claims about safety problems at Trident's Faslane home highlighted by a whistleblower earlier this month.

Mr Salmond accused ministers of being guilty of "suffocating complacency" after they declared Royal Navy submariner William McNeilly's concerns were either incorrect, the result of misunderstanding or based on historic events.

It also emerged that all restrictions on Able Seaman McNeilly, who initially went absent without leave, were lifted on Tuesday.

He had been released into the care of the Royal Navy after being arrested on May 18.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the conclusions of a Ministry of Defence (MoD) investigation into the claims found that safety had not been compromised.

The 25-year-old sailor had compiled an 18-page dossier he said detailed a series of safety breaches at Faslane.

In a written statement Mr Fallon said that one of Able Seaman's McNeilly's claims, that e-cigarettes were being used inside submarines, needed to be investigated further.

He added, however, that there was "clear evidence" the use of such devices did not put the safety of the boats at risk.

He added: "Most of McNeilly's concerns proved to be either factually incorrect or the result of mis- or partial understanding; some drew on historic, previously known, events none of which had compromised our deterrent capability and, where appropriate, from which lessons had been learned to develop our procedures as part of a continuous improvement programme."

Mr Salmond described the explanation as an "insult" to the intelligence of the public.

The SNP have demanded clearer answers about the investigation.

On renewal, Mr Salmond said: "Given the political realities in Scotland.. the government would be making a fatal mistake if they believe that.. this costly trumpery, this useless, expensive, unlawful and inherently dangerous military plaything is going to be tolerated by these benches, this party or this country for any longer."

Mr Salmond also condemn the secrecy around leaks in a test reactor at Dounreay, which was made public last year but which occurred in 2012.

He said the Ministry of Defence invoked "Crown immunity" to stop the leaks, caused by small cracks in a prototype reactor designed to identify problems before they emerged on the Vanguard-class submarines.

Mr Salmond said the MoD prevented the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency from making information public in the same way as if there was a problem in a civil nuclear facility.

Defence minister Penny Mordaunt described Dounreay as a "non-incident" as she said there had been no safety issues.