The UK

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All of the UK’s nuclear weapons are stored and based in Scotland,[1] where they are strongly opposed by the Scottish people, the Scottish parliament and the Scottish government. Ironically, the UK government doesn’t appear to have anywhere else to put them.[2] So the quickest route to eliminating the UK’s nuclear weapons would appear to be Scottish independence.

Scotland has its own parliament and domestic policies, following devolution in 1999. But control over defence and foreign policy decisions is still in the hands of the UK parliament in London. The UK government remains opposed to Scotland holding another referendum on full independence, which is currently supported by a narrow majority of Scots, according to recent polls.[3] Without full independence, Scotland’s democratic deficit means that it cannot make decisions about nuclear weapons currently stationed on its own soil (or, in this case, in its lochs).[4]

Meanwhile, if the US were to eliminate its nuclear weapons, that would be a serious blow to the UK nuclear weapons program, which is heavily dependent on US collaboration and support. The UK makes its own nuclear warheads, based on a US design, but then puts them on top of missiles that are made, and owned, by the US. The missiles then go inside Trident submarines, built by the UK, but again following a US design. Everything in the UK nuclear weapons program is closely integrated with the US program, including targeting and deployment.[5]

As in the US, the two main political parties in the UK (Conservative and Labour Parties) both support continued possession of nuclear weapons. Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the Labour Party, was (and is) a strong nuclear disarmament advocate and supporter of the TPNW, as are many rank and file members of the party. However, it was in fact a Labour government that initiated the UK’s nuclear weapons policy in 1947 and a Labour government that took the decision in 2006 to modernize the UK’s nuclear weapons. The current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, is likely to become the next UK Prime Minister in 2024, and unlike Corbyn, he also supports the UK’s current nuclear weapons policy.

Some consider it only a matter of time before a Labour Prime Minister emerges who will end the UK’s nuclear weapons program. The only question is whether that will happen before or after a vote for Scottish independence.

[1] They are made and maintained, however, in the south of England, which means a regular stream of military convoys carrying nuclear warheads travel up and down the country, passing through towns and villages, parking up outside of schools and churches, and getting into traffic accidents… See

[2] The need for a deep water port to house the nuclear submarines rules out most of the UK coastline outside Scotland. Current safety and security regulations governing the placement of high explosives raise concerns about locating nuclear weapons storage and handling facilities within a certain radius of dense population centers. A report looking at alternative sites to base the UK’s Trident submarines found none in England or Wales that meet the requirements and suggested the most likely alternative to Faslane would be co-locate the UK submarines together with the US submarine fleet based in King’s Bay, Georgia on the US east coast. See John Ainslie (2013), Nowhere to Go, Scottish CND:

[3] See summary of recent polls at

[4] Scottish Parliament. (n.d.). Devolved and reserved powers.

[5] CND UK. (2021, April 23). Trident: The US connection