Two SNP MSPs quit over Nato move


TWO SCOTTISH National Party members of the Scottish parliament have quit over last week’s decision to drop the party’s long-standing opposition to Nato membership.

The decision of the two, John Finnie and Jean Urquhart, is the first chink in the usually well disciplined SNP as it prepares for the 2014 independence referendum.

Under the policy change, the SNP says that it would join Nato, but only if the UK’s nuclear missile fleet is removed from its base at Faslane on the Clyde.

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond had pushed for the change in a bid to woo Scots concerned that independence would endanger security.

Ms Urquhart said her resignation was “heart-wrenching”, but both she and Mr Finnie said they could not stay as members of a party that wanted to join Nato, which has a “first strike” nuclear policy.

However, both MPs will continue to support the SNP, which has a majority in the Holyrood parliament, in parliamentary votes and continue to support the independence campaign.

Meanwhile, the SNP has dropped a legal action against a freedom of information request about whether it had taken legal advice about Scotland’s status in the EU if independent.

Last weekend, Mr Salmond said legal advice had been obtained from Scottish law officers, but it has emerged that no such advice was obtained.