“NO justification” – defence chiefs are putting the public at increased risk by moving nuclear warheads across the Border through the pandemic, a senior MSP claims.

The deadly loads have been brought into Scotland several times despite a non-essential travel ban, campaigners Nukewatch UK say, with the last convoy going through Glasgow city centre to Coulport on the Clyde one month ago and returning to Burghfield in Berkshire five days later.

Ruth Maguire MSP, convener of Holyrood’s Equality and Human Rights Committee, told The National: “The transportation of weapons of mass destruction should never be deemed as essential travel, but there is certainly at the moment no justification for putting us at further risk of potentially overwhelming the NHS if there was an accident.”

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The Cunninghame South MSP’s call comes after she and anti-nuke colleague Bill Kidd MSP met with Community Safety Minister Ash Denham yesterday to raise concerns over the issue.

Maguire said: “It is never right to possess and deploy nuclear weapons and transport them on public roads. Doing it now is completely irresponsible.

“People in Scotland should no longer accept that they are regularly put at risk by the transportation of nuclear weapons via their roads.

“It is both immoral and economically illiterate to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction – that we will never use – when we can instead invest that money on an economic recovery that actually benefits the lives of the people we represent.”

The MoD said moving nuclear materials is an “essential operation” for national security, adding: “We prioritise the safety and security of the public at all times and movements are always conducted by highly trained personnel in line with all relevant regulations.”