AN SNP MSP will today tell a major international conference of parliamentarians that his party remains committed to making Scotland and the rest of the world free of nuclear weapons.

Bill Kidd, co-president of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), will speak at that organisation’s Building a Nuclear Weapon-Free World conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, and will highlight to delegates what he calls Prime Minister Theresa May’s “absolutely chilling” response of ‘yes’ to the question about whether she would use nuclear weapons.

Kidd is set to address a panel session at the conference – which is being held to mark the United Nations day against nuclear tests – on national prohibition of nuclear weapons and establishing nuclear-weapons-free zones.

Participants in the conference will include ex-Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak.

Kidd, the MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, said: “Scotland is the unwilling host to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon’s system, with the Scottish Government as well as the majority of the Scottish Parliament and the churches and civic society all having made clear their opposition to this situation.

“Nuclear weapons are capable of doing unimaginable damage and should be seen as morally repugnant regardless of the situation – but for the UK Government to commit to renewing Trident at a cost of £167bn while cutting public spending across the board is simply unbelievable. And that, when asked if she would authorise a nuclear strike which would kill 100,000 innocent people, the UK’s new prime minister unflinchingly answered ‘yes’ is absolutely chilling – and highlights exactly why.”

The conference is bringing together parliamentarians and mayors from around the world, along with a selection of religious leaders, government officials, disarmament experts, policy analysts, civil society campaigners and representatives of international and regional organisations to build political will for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

A new UN process called the Open Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament is shortly to report to the UN General Assembly on action to be taken on multilateral negotiations to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.

The conference also marks the fact that it is just two years to a UN high level conference on nuclear disarmament at which multilateral nuclear disarmament measures could be adopted.

The conference will be opened by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who made his own move on unilateral disarmament in 1991 when he closed down the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site – also known as “The Polygon” – which had been the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons.

PNND faces a great many obstacles to its stated aim to rid the world of nuclear weapons by peaceful parliamentary means, not least because the UK and other members of the UN permanent security council are opposed to it. In the UK, PNND is led by Baroness Sue Miller and her co-chair, the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Kidd will state the SNP and Scottish Government’s case against nuclear weapons in strong terms: “The SNP is clear that on achieving independence we will have all nuclear weapons removed as quickly and safely as possible from Scotland – but the fight does not stop there. Our party believes firmly in international solidarity and would continue to make the case for a world free of these immoral weapons of mass destruction.

“The Scottish Government believes in building and maintaining a conventional defence force and working in international co-operation with our neighbours and with states worldwide in order to achieve sustainable security for all in a world without nuclear weapons.

“Opposition to nuclear weapons has been a principle running through the heart of the SNP for decades – and is a principle we will continue to fight for both in Scotland and around the world.”