SNP Publish Submission to UK Gov Integrated Foreign Policy and Defence Review


Categories: Foreign Affairs, UK Government (Westminster)

Stewart McDonald MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Defence (left) and Alyn Smith MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in Washington DC

The SNP has today (Tuesday) published its submission to the UK government’s Integrated Foreign Policy and Defence Review.

Beyond outlining the party’s long-established opposition to Trident nuclear weapons, the submission underlines the SNP’s commitment to the rule of law and multilateralism, and challenges the UK’s approach to protect Scottish interests and values abroad. The party also calls for the UK Government to sign a Comprehensive Defence and Security treaty with the European Union, and explores how the MoD can prepare itself for the more nuanced threats of the 21st Century.

Pushing the UK government to see beyond Whitehall, the submission calls for fresh engagement with devolved administrations and civil society to build a coherent foreign policy that properly represents the values and interests of Scotland, and warns that the UK government must look to submissions from across party divides to tackle issues including a sustainable funding settlement for the MoD and helping to build broad consensus for the environmental and development challenges of the future.

SNP Defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald MP said:

“This is an important opportunity to set out our priorities and signal to the people of Scotland and the international community – particularly our allies in northern Europe – some of the guiding principles and priorities for Scotland as more of our fellow citizens back independence.

“As well as re-stating our longstanding opposition to nuclear weapons, we have put forward sensible suggestions on how to meet the modern-day threat picture: urging a greater emphasis on the High North and Arctic regions; on state resilience; measures to improve the terms and conditions for armed forces personnel; democratic oversight of UK Special Forces and an international ban on lethal autonomous weapons. The UK Government must also seek a comprehensive defence and security agreement with the European Union.

“What we have put forward wouldn’t look out of place in the defence and security posture of an independent, northern European country committed to the rule of law and regional cooperation. We hope these proposals will chime with the people of Scotland, whose values we believe underpin everything in our submission.”

SNP Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alyn Smith MP said:

“We cannot critique the UK government for failing Scotland if we do not set out what we would do instead.

“This builds our credibility as a serious Party with serious ambitions, both in the eyes of the international community and those of Scots not yet persuaded of independence.

“Setting out just what sort of good global citizen Scotland will be is a big, open and attractive vision which people will want to be part of, where the UK is proving by its actions that behind the bluster lies a state ill at ease with itself and unsure of its place in the world, veering wildly between imperial bluster and unconvincing British exceptionalism.

“Scotland and the SNP have a much sharper vision of our place in the world, I think it is fair to say we are 20 years ahead in our thinking of the British political parties and this document underlines our serious credentials.”