Cumbernauld’s MP faces Trident critics

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 18:01 on 22 January 2015.
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Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East Labour MP, Gregg McClymont.
CUMBERNAULD, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East’s Labour Member of Parliament has come under fire for backing the renewal of Trident in a recent Westminster vote.

Green Party, Plaid Cymru and SNP Members of Parliament joined together to see a motion laid before the House of Commons that called for Members to oppose Trident’s renewal.

The near six-hour debate and vote took place on Tuesday (20 January) afternoon, after the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP put forward a motion that read: “That this House believes that Trident should not be renewed.”

A vote on the motion was taken at shortly before seven o’clock, with the result being announced at 6:59pm on Tuesday evening – 35 MPs voted for the motion, while 364 voted against it.

Gregg McClymont, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East’s Member of Parliament voted against the motion; and, after a backlash on social media, the Labour man has been forced to set out and defend his decision.

“A number of constituents have contacted me in support of tonight's vote on unilateral nuclear disarmament,” the MP posted on his Facebook page shortly after the vote.

“While respecting their view I do not share it,” he said. 

“I want to see a world free of nuclear weapons. But in a world where others still possess nuclear weapons and the future security landscape remains uncertain, unilaterally abandoning nuclear weapons will not make Britain or the world more secure.”

Mr McClymont’s post comes after a debate on Scottish independence, held by the Public and Commercial Services union, in Cumbernauld, in September 2014.

During the course of a discussion regarding the Trident nuclear submarines and Faslane base, Mr McClymont told union members that he “believed in nuclear weapons”, adding that he lent his support to a multilateral nuclear disarmament solution. He reflected on this position in his Facebook post.

“As that great socialist Aneurin Bevan famously concluded, only by negotiating away nuclear weapons on a like for like basis will we eventually see a nuclear free world. That's why I support multilateral not unilateral disarmament,” the town’s MP explained. 

He added: “I'm proud that the last Labour Government led the way in the multilateral Global Zero campaign which reduced hugely the number of nuclear warheads across the world and reducing this number further would be a priority for the next Labour Government. 

“The SNP approach - simply moving nuclear weapons south such that they are stationed closer to Dumfries than Loch Lomond - is not a solution to the global problem of ridding the world of nuclear weapons.”

Constituents appear unsatisfied at the response, though, with comments posted in response to Mr McClymont’s statement warning the MP to “prepare for unemployment”.

One such comment told Mr McClymont: “No need for our own pesky little opinions eh Gregg? I'm sure that your latest pay rise will keep you warm at night whilst more of your constituents queue at foodbanks”, while a second reply simply said: “No backbone and no job come the GE. Ciao!”

The bitter dispute has forced the MP to reiterate his stance once more – this time taking the decision to issue a statement to the press. 

In a statement released earlier today, Gregg McClymont, who is Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister said: “I want to see a world free of nuclear weapons. That is why I am pleased that the Labour Party recognises the importance of Britain leading international efforts for multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The last Labour Government was the first Government of a nuclear power to call for an end to nuclear weapons while in office, leading directly to the establishment of the Global Zero campaign.”

He added: “However, in a world where others still possess nuclear weapons and the future security landscape remains uncertain, unilaterally abandoning the nuclear deterrent will not make Britain or the world more secure. The only way to end the nuclear threat for good is through international dialogue as that great socialist Aneurin Bevan famously insisted when he backed multilateral nuclear disarmament. Simply moving nuclear weapons such that they are stationed closer to Dumfries than Loch Lomond is not a solution.”
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