Independent Scotland would be banned from possessing nuclear arms
Upon becoming independent, Scotland would not be recognized as a state with the ability to possess a nuclear deterrent under international law. Scotland and the U.K. governments would likely have to negotiate a formal leasing deal to allow nuclear weapons to continue to be stationed in Scotland. Scotland's independence is up for a vote in a 2014 referendum, Scotsman.com reports.
The Scottish National Party said that after an independent Scotland signs up to non-proliferation treaty rules, the current submarine-based nuclear deterrent based at Faslane and Coulport would need to leave Scotland as soon as possible.
"First the U.K. government's own legal advisor agreed that the Scottish government's timescale for independence was 'realistic,' and now the paper published by the coalition says that nuclear weapons won't be allowed in an independent Scotland - which will be music to the ears of the Scottish people," Member of Parliament Angus Robertson said, according to Scotsman.com. "The SNP already proposes to make weapons of mass destruction illegal in the constitution of an independent Scotland."
In December, the U.K. government said that moving the nuclear deterrents elsewhere would cost billions of dollars. Stationing the submarines at Faslane would require an agreement that gives the British military unhindered access to the shipping lanes around the base.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty is a 40-year-old international agreement signed by 190 countries to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The first article of the treaty said that countries with nuclear weapons, like Britain, may not give control over nuclear armaments to non-nuclear states, Scotsman.com reports.