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NEWLY ELECTED Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the party should not be afraid of opening up debate on the Trident nuclear weapons system at the party’s conference in October.
Ms Dugdale told BBC Radio Scotland that she wanted people to join the Labour Party and be active, “so that they can be part of political debate, so that they can debate ideas and so they can vote for Labour policy.”
Labour MSP Neil Findlay told the Star he was pleased with Ms Dugdale’s commitment to make the party “much more democratic” and welcomed the move towards “genuine open debate” within Scottish Labour.
Jeremy Corbyn’s principled opposition to Trident, which was warmly welcomed by thousands of people when he visited Scotland last week, has put pressure on Ms Dugdale’s own position regarding the weapons of mass destruction.
During the BBC interview, Ms Dugdale stuck to her commitment to multilateralism, saying: “The question that you have to ask is what is the best way to get other countries to give up their nuclear weapons? I think the way to do that is together on a multilateral basis.”
Scottish CND co-ordinator John Ainslie welcomed the call for debate but told the Star that he was “disappointed” that Ms Dugdale was not herself against Trident renewal.
He said that getting rid of the nuclear weapons “was a clear moral issue” supported by many during the Scottish independence referendum and again during the general election.
Mr Ainslie said the “widespread public opposition to Trident” across Scotland and the rest of Britain was “a key factor” in Mr Corbyn’s success.
Ms Dugdale acknowledged that not everyone shared her views and said she hoped to create a situation “where party members will have a much bigger say over how we construct Labour Party policy for the 2016 elections.”
SNP MSP Bill Kidd, co-president of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, attacked Labour for being “all over the place on key issues such as Trident.”
He said that the SNP was “crystal clear that we remain completely and utterly opposed to these abhorrent weapons of mass destruction.”
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