Scottish independence would reduce the security of the country and the rest of Britain, according to a panel of lawmakers looking at U.K. defense policy.
The removal of Trident nuclear missiles currently based in Scotland would take several years in the event of a vote next year in favor of independence, the House of Commons Defence Committee in London said in a report published today.
First Minister Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, last year reversed its 30-year opposition to NATO membership on condition that the weapons are removed. The U.K. deterrent is based 30 miles from Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.
A referendum on independence, the SNP’s flagship policy, is being held on Sept. 18 next year.
Most Scottish-based defense contractors would be likely to relocate their operations should voters opt for independence, while Scotland would not be able to provide the country’s two warship building yards with enough orders to keep them both viable, the lawmakers said.
An independent Scotland would prioritize air and naval defense with a focus on securing offshore oil and gas resources, protecting fisheries and safeguarding coastal waters, Salmond said in July.
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