More than 400 people have backed a new campaign to stop the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon system.
Shetland Against Trident was set up this weekend and already has 419 likes on Facebook. It is described as “a local group campaigning against the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon system”.
“Shetland Against Trident primarily exists to raise awareness of Trident, and encourage the local people of Shetland to lobby our local MP, Alistair Carmichael, to sign Early Day Motion 37,” the page states.
“Early Day Motion 37 calls on the [UK] government to cancel plans to replace the Trident nuclear weapon submarines, arguing the case on both security and spending grounds.”
The group argues that as well as the moral grounds against Trident, the scheme also has major financial implications. Replacing it will cost more than £100 billion over its lifetime – enough to scrap tuition fees for 30 years, it said.
Folk are encouraged to tell Mr Carmichael they are against Trident and encourage him to sign the early day motion through the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament website.
Marshall Brill of Shetland Against Trident, said there was strong support in Shetland against the scheme, based on the initial response in 24 hours. He also noted the wider picture, with a Guardian poll in April showing more than 70 per cent of people did not want the UK to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system.
He said there would also be more information about the campaign for those not on Facebook. This would probably be along the lines of a meeting or distributing leaflets.
Mr Carmichael said this morning that he had not yet been contacted, but would be happy to speak to the group.
“They will doubtless be aware that the final decision on the renewal of Trident will not now happen until after the general election. That’s because of the influence of the Liberal Democrats in government,” he said.
If it were left to the Conservatives or Labour Party alone there would be “nothing still to discuss,” he added.
Mr Carmichael said early day motions were a parliamentary device that allowed back-benchers a voice on an issue.
But as a government minister, he said he was not allowed to sign the early day motion, because of ministerial code.
Though he could still engage directly with ministers responsible, he said, and influence the debate in that way.
Mr Brill said he would see how things develop over the short term but would be happy to have discussions with Mr Carmichael at a later date.