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MPs to debate safety of Trident nuclear submarines

The 16,000 ton Trident-class nuclear submarine Vanguard Credit: PA Wire

The safety of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons is to be discussed in Parliament today, after the SNP secured a debate slot.

The party wants to press UK government on recent claims made by a whistleblower concerning the state of the weapons programme.

Able Seaman William McNeilly, 25, caused a manhunt after he published an 18-page report online containing a series of allegations about nuclear submarines based at Faslane, which he called a "disaster waiting to happen".

Alex Salmond, the party's foreign affairs spokesman, said: "Trident is a key issue for people in Scotland. It is bad enough that Scotland is forced to house these weapons of mass destruction but these alleged breaches of security are deeply worrying - there must be absolutely no complacency."

SNP will make 'positive case' for EU membership

The SNP will make "a positive case" for keeping the UK in the European Union, one of its new MPs has told Parliament.

In his maiden speech to the Commons, Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, also said that his party would try and get as many people voting as possible.

He said: "We want to look at a positive case, even look at some areas where we could be deepening our relationship with our European partners."

He added that "the Scottish referendum provided many lessons", especially "including as many of our citizens as we possibly can in a debate about the future of our respective nations".

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SNP: Queen's Speech a 'test' of Tory Scotland pledges

Angus Robertson also said that the SNP would be the 'real opposition' to the Tories Credit: Danny Lawson / PA Wire

The Queen's Speech is an "early test" of the Conservatives' bona fides on devolving more powers to Holyrood, the SNP's Westminster leader has said.

Angus Robertson said there were "shortcomings" on the draft clauses published earlier this year and he insisted the Scotland Bill - which is due to be published on Thursday - must live up to "both the spirit and the letter" of the cross-party deal that was reached.

He said: "As the First Minister agreed with David Cameron, the Scottish Government will also put forward proposals for a transfer of powers beyond Smith for discussion between the Scottish Secretary and the Deputy First Minister - for which half of Scotland's electorate voted. The people of Scotland have spoken and Westminster has a democratic duty to listen."

Sturgeon: SNP will block scrapping Human Rights Act

MPs for the Scottish National Party (SNP) will join forces with other opposition parties in an effort to block Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP will work to keep the Human Rights Act. Credit: Andrew Milligan / PA Wire/PA Images

The First Minister claimed the Conservatives' agenda "lacks legitimacy in Scotland", where David Cameron's party has just a single MP.

The SNP's priority is ending austerity, and the damage it does to people's lives - the Tory government's priority is ending human rights, and the opportunities for fairness they offer ordinary men and women.

For example, it was the Human Rights Act that enabled people to go to court in this country to challenge the grossly unfair bedroom tax.

To scrap the Human Rights Act would be an appallingly retrograde step.

– Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights, Alex Neil, has already written written to UK Justice Secretary Michael Gove "to reiterate the Scottish Government's opposition to the repeal of the Human Rights Act".

Ms Sturgeon said she also raised the matter directly with the Prime Minister when they met and Holyrood could refuse consent to abolish the Act.

She added: "SNP MPs will work across party lines at Westminster to defeat the Tory government on the Human Rights Act - and the SNP Government will invite the Scottish Parliament to refuse legislative consent to scrap it, given the strong devolved dimension.

"This important issue illustrates how Holyrood working together with SNP MPs and others at Westminster can challenge a Tory agenda that lacks legitimacy in Scotland - and help the cause of progressive politics across the UK."

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