EXCL Nia Griffith rejects SNP offer to prop up Labour government if Trident is scrapped
Labour will not scrap Trident as the price of a post-election pact with the SNP, a senior frontbencher has declared.
Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith said Labour’s support for the multibillion-pound submarine project was "settled policy" and would not be traded away in return for power.
Stewart McDonald, the SNP's defence spokesman at Westminster, said last month that Jeremy Corbyn would be "mad" to pass up the opportunity to dump Britain's nuclear deterrent.
But in an interview with The House magazine, Ms Griffith dismissed the offer out of hand.
She said: "Quite frankly the SNP should focus a bit more on the shambles that they have made of running the Scottish government, rather than any imaginary coalition deal that is just not going to happen.
Ms Griffith added: "We are ready to fight the next election whenever it comes and we will be campaigning to win a Labour majority. In fact there are quite a few seats in Scotland that the SNP should be very worried about.
"In any case, I can assure you that the next Labour government will deliver the Dreadnought programme and maintain our nuclear deterrent because it is very clearly our party policy to do so."
Elsewhere, Ms Griffith also slapped down a junior frontbencher on her team after he backed scrapping Trident.
Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament Fabian Hamilton said that he “sincerely” hoped a ‘defence diversification’ review he is undertaking would convince unions to drop their support for Trident.
He told the Yorkshire Post: “I have always said party policy says we should renew Trident but I say we should scrap it.
“That is also the view of the leader of the party.”
But Ms Griffith said: "On the nuclear deterrent we are very clear as a party that we are supporting the renewal of Trident.
"It is absolutely part of our policy to keep the deterrent. And that is our settled policy. And that was in our manifesto last year, which was agreed by everybody."
Asked whether she saw Mr Hamilton’s review - which aims to spell out alternative jobs for people working in the defence industry - as an attempt to reopen the Trident debate, Ms Griffith said: “I think they’re two separate things. They’re two completely separate issues.
“And in terms of do we want a nuclear deterrent? Yes, we do. That is our clear policy.”
MPs voted to renew the Trident programme in 2016, with the fleet’s four submarines set for an estimated £31bn overhaul over the next 20 years.