JACKIE Baillie has gone rogue over Trident after refusing to back her party’s manifesto commitment to opposing the renewal of the nuclear weapons system.

The Labour politician is currently fighting to keep hold of the Dumbarton constituency she has represented since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and is also top of her party’s West of Scotland regional list.

But yesterday questions about her suitability as a list candidate emerged after she publicly vowed to defy official policy on Trident.

Framing the nuclear system as crucial to the West Dunbartonshire economy, Baillie told a Wednesday night hustings meeting: “Whatever my party manifesto says, I will always stand up for local jobs.”

The statement came just days after Kezia Dugdale confirmed the forthcoming Labour manifesto will reflect internal party opposition to Trident.

An overwhelming majority of delegates at the party conference in November backed a call against the renewal of the system at an estimated total cost of up to £167 billion.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Dugdale said: “We are opposed to the renewal of Trident and you’ll see that reflected in our manifesto.”

However, Baillie – who has long fought elections on the back of defence jobs claims – repeated her plan to ignore official policy and the will of party members several times at the Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce hustings.

Yesterday Trident Ploughshares activist Brian Larkin said she is unsuitable to stand on the regional list, which is about voting for a party rather than a candidate.

Concern was raised over the potential for voters backing Labour’s anti-nuclear stance to elect a pro-Trident representative instead.

He told The National: “Kezia Dugdale’s personal position is in support of Trident but she is upholding the party position and so Jackie Baillie should do the same.

“Labour has made that change because it is not a credible party that has a chance to win any elections if it doesn’t recognise that that is the will of the people. She is out of step with the grassroots of her own party.”

Baillie was selected for the regional list following the landmark Trident conference vote and last night a Labour spokesperson said her position is “well known” to activists, adding: “It’s understandable that Jackie advocates a position she considers to be in the best interests of her constituents.”

A report published last year by union umbrella group the STUC and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stated just 520 civilian jobs at HMNB Clyde are “directly reliant on Trident”, 132 of which are held by workers from Argyll and Bute and 178 by staff from West Dunbartonshire.

The figures, which date from 2012, show overall civilian jobs at the base total 3,185. However, the STUC, which calls for the establishment of a Defence Diversification Agency, says alternative roles can be found or created. At the STUC congress in Dundee this week, Jane Carolan of Unison said her union has a “proud record of defending quality employment”, but argued replacing Trident would be “catastrophic”.

She said Government figures show no jobs would be lost for 15 years, adding: “For the cost of Trident we could have 100,000 more firefighters, 120,000 nurses, 120,000 teachers. It is a gross misallocation of taxpayers money, our money, where there are so many more vital and constructive ways in which it could be spent.”

Yesterday Craig Edwards of Clydebank, who questioned Baillie on Trident at the hustings, said he knows no-one employed on the system but many opposed to it.

He said: “Night and day, the Ministry of Defence is transporting nuclear material through our streets. Jackie Baillie’s view has nothing to do with local jobs, it is to do with her protecting her own job. Her argument has always been the local economy is so reliant on it, but the Helensburgh economy has almost collapsed. It has empty shops. It is a fallacy.”

SNP Dumbarton candidate Gail Robertson, who is also standing on the regional list, said: “I don’t think Jackie Baillie can justify being a list candidate for Labour given what we are hearing about their manifesto. They are campaigning in opposite directions.”

Baillie declined to speak to The National on the issue.

The National View: Is a vote for Labour a vote to keep Trident or to scrap it?