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MSP demands action on Glasgow's secret nuclear convoys

Anger at late-night warhead shipments snaking through Scottish city's streets

Glasgow MSP Bill Kidd demanded action yesterday following reports police and soldiers ferried a secret shipment of nuclear warheads through the city's darkened streets.

Mr Kidd condemned the "absolutely chilling" Ministry of Defence policy in the Scottish Parliament as he described an unmarked 19-vehicle convoy snaking up the M74 in the early hours of Wednesday morning en route to the navy's arms depot on Loch Long.

Glasgow Anniesland MSP Mr Kidd, who also presides over the international network Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, said the convoys amounted to a reckless endangerment of his constituents.

"This practice is deeply worrying and poses an unacceptable risk to the people of Glasgow," he said.

"The idea that weapons of mass destruction are being transported through our city while we sleep is absolutely chilling.

"The people of Glasgow and Scotland have made clear our opposition to nuclear weapons being based on the Clyde, but Westminster remains committed to wasting up to £100 billion on a new generation."

Scottish Nationalist Mr Kidd was one of 25 MSPs yesterday to back a motion demanding an end to the "ongoing and dangerous practice."

Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament co-ordinator John Ainslie said it was hard for people in Glasgow to imagine the peril they had been put in.

He said: "Each one of these weapons is seven times more powerful than the atom bomb which destroyed the city of Hiroshima in 1945."

The Trident fleet of nuclear-armed submarines - due for a £65bn overhaul - have become a key issue in September's referendum, with SNP ministers pledging to remove all nuclear weapons from Scottish soil and Westminster parties backing the fleet's renewal.

However left-wing No campaigners have warned that SNP support for Nato may mean that an independent Scotland would have to retain the arsenal on its soil.

The 2012 SNP conference voted at the request of its leadership to reverse a policy of opposition to membership of the pro-nuclear Western military alliance.

Ministry of Defence officials said the department regularly carries out exercises to test its emergency response to radioactive crash sites.

A spokesman said: "We keep the number of nuclear convoys to a minimum, only transporting nuclear material to meet operational requirements.

"We do not comment on where material is moved for national security reasons."

But an internal report from a 2011 dry run released last June described "major difficulties," with emergency services at the scene in Glasgow stranded for more than five hours without help from the ministry's weapons experts.

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