THE chair of the SNP’s CND group has called on the party to rule out any plan to rent Faslane to the UK Govern-ment after a Yes vote.

In a new paper discussed by activists last week, Bill Ramsay said it was likely the UK Government would offer eye-watering sums of money to the government of a newly independent Scotland to “retain Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde and the Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport”.

He wrote: “Nuclear multilateralists will argue that ‘we’ have the UK ‘over a barrel’. That we should take the money for a short time, for a longer time and, for others, for as long as the rUK has nuclear weapons.

“SNP CND are of the view that the SNP needs to develop a policy, this side of the 2021 election, so that when the SNP seek a mandate for an independence referendum that SNP policy makes it clear that the SNP will not negotiate a lease on Faslane and Coulport.”

Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde at Faslane is home to Trident, the four Vanguard-class submarines plus missiles and warheads that act as the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

The SNP has so far refused to commit to a specific timetable for a nuclear withdrawal from Scotland and recently talked of the need for a “proper and sensible agreement”.

However, the party’s CND group will call at the next SNP conference for the removal of the Trident missile system and Vanguard-class subs within three years of a Yes vote.

Ramsay said it was important to have this agreed to sooner rather than later to prevent the UK Government basing the replacements to the Vanguard-class subs, the Dreadnoughts, on the Clyde.

In his paper, Ramsay said the UK Government will almost certainly offer to “pay a rental cost for Faslane that will cover the entire or almost the entire Scottish defence budget of an independent Scotland”.

But while this may be tempting, Ramsay says the Scottish Government’s £2.5 billion projected cost for a Scottish Defence Force (SDF) in the 2014 white paper, is excessive.

He said the UK Government’s strategy to keep the nukes in Faslane may be to “start from a perfectly ‘reasonable’ proposition, that the Vanguard-class submarines that carry the Trident missiles could not be expected to ‘up anchor’ and sail away to Devonport, or some such, the morning after the vote.

“This entirely reasonable expectation is one end of a very, very long continuum that has at the other end a decades-long lease to host the Vanguard-class replacements until well into the second half of the 21st century.

“In between would be more gradual steps including a short-term lease of Faslane for five years or ten years or more. Bear in mind also that, like the Astute class replacements for the Trafalgar class hunter-killers, the decommissioning of the old Vanguards and replacement with the new Dreadnought boats would be piecemeal as each is built and enters service.

“Also note the Dreadnought class is due to enter service in 2028. However, with cost overruns and the financial impact of Brexit far less Covid, that timetable is already slipping.

“However, the complications of gradual disengagement from the Clyde is not the only matter to be considered. Arguably of more importance are the incentives that would be offered to establish a British Guantanamo on the Clyde.

“What will almost certainly happen is that an offer will be made to pay a rental cost for Faslane that will cover the entire or almost the entire Scottish defence budget of an independent Scotland.”

Last year, defence analyst Trevor Royle said Scotland could follow Iceland’s lead. They leased its air force base to America from 1949 to 2006 to generate revenue in the first decades of becoming independent

from Denmark.