GIBRALTAR could be the new home of Britain’s nuclear submarines if the Scottish National Party has its way.
Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are riding extremely high in the polls at the moment. If her party wins a big enough majority of Scottish seats to hold the balance of power in Westminster, it could spell the end of the Trident missile program in Scotland, and the start of a new era for Gibraltar.
It has been suggested Gibraltar could be the new home of Britain’s nuclear submarines if the SNP succeeds in ridding Scotland of Trident. It is estimated such a move would take ten years and cost an estimated €3 billion should it go ahead.
Both the Conservatives and Labour have committed to retaining the base on the Clyde, and a spokesman for the MOD said: “This is absolutely untrue and we can been very clear that the MOD is not planning to move the nuclear deterrent from HM Naval Base Clyde to Gibraltar, or anywhere else.”
However, a senior military source told the Sunday Express that Ministry of Defence officials have sounded out Gibraltar as an alternative to the naval base on the Clyde. “A party was sent to Gibraltar in January to determine whether the option could work. One can only assume it’s part of broader contingency planning,” the source said.
Dr Nick Ritchie, international security lecturer at the University of York, said any move could anger Spain, who already dispute Britain’s claim over Gibraltar. “It would be interesting to see Spain’s reaction, since it is a non-nuclear member of NATO.”
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo had previously said it had the facilities available and had been visited by submarines from the UK and the US in the past.