Stewart McDonald: That is fair enough, and I hope the Minister does make progress, which no one wants to see more than me. May I take him back to the point he made about the Scottish National party position on NATO? An independent Scotland’s place in NATO is supported by none other than the former UK ambassador to NATO, Dame Mariot Leslie, who was ambassador at the time of the coalition. She is right, is she not?
Stewart McDonald: rose—
Stewart McDonald: rose—
Stewart McDonald: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not know what gives you that idea. I seek your guidance and advice. It is my understanding that not a single Scottish Labour Member of Parliament voted in the Division that has just taken place. You and other hon. Members will know that that will be up on the Commons votes app fairly shortly after the Division. Can you tell the House when we can expect...
Stewart McDonald: Why, then, has not a single Labour Member of Parliament spoken out against nuclear weapons in this debate?
Stewart McDonald: While it is the hon. Gentleman’s position that the workers of the world should ignite, the position of the Scottish Labour party is the same as that of the Scottish National party. Can he explain why the Scottish Labour party is wrong and he is right?
Stewart McDonald: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I want to clarify his position from what he said in response to my last intervention. Does Scottish Labour’s policy not matter because Westminster Labour’s policy is for Trident renewal?
Stewart McDonald: rose—
Stewart McDonald: Let me make one thing perfectly clear—he should remember this, as his party put up a poster boy for the Better Together campaign; I do not see him in his place—when we make promises in shipbuilding, unlike him or the lot opposite him, they will not be broken.
Stewart McDonald: The hon. Gentleman talks about history and peace, but I remind him that 25% of the UN’s peacekeeping force during the cold war came from the four Nordic countries. What is wrong with a defence posture similar to theirs?
Stewart McDonald: Is it the hon. Gentleman’s policy that, if Scotland votes for independence, it should not be a member of NATO?
Stewart McDonald: Can the hon. Gentleman tell me three things? How are those negotiations going, who are they happening with, and should there be a public inquiry?
Stewart McDonald: I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is wrong when he says that the Government are not reckless. They have not decommissioned a nuclear submarine since 1980. The National Audit Office said last week that the UK is at risk of becoming an irresponsible nuclear power, so he is just wrong when he says that.
Stewart McDonald: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Stewart McDonald: The hon. Gentleman should speak to his colleague, the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)—perhaps she can educate him.
Stewart McDonald: I wonder if there is something we could agree on: the decision taken by Cameron and Osborne to depart from Labour’s practice of having funding for this programme outside of the Defence budget. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that was the right or wrong thing to do?
Stewart McDonald: In fairness, I did open my remarks with exactly what the hon. Gentleman has just said. I am sure that he would not want to suggest otherwise. I have no issue with such a debate, but the problem is that this is a backslapping exercise. It is turning into exactly that, and that is what we deprecate, not the service of those who serve in the armed forces.
Stewart McDonald: Hang on. It is the job of the Opposition—and I wish Labour would remember this from time to time—to oppose the things that they feel they have to oppose. I know the hon. Gentleman disagrees, but millions of people across the country share our view, and it is right that their voice is represented.
Stewart McDonald: It is always a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis), the Chair of the Defence Committee, despite agreeing with almost none of what he had to say. He is always unfailingly courteous to my hon. Friend the Member for West Dunbartonshire (Martin Docherty-Hughes) on that Committee, and it is always a pleasure to hear what he has to say. I will start, as the...
Stewart McDonald: I will give way in time. Given the opportunity that we have to discuss the matter this afternoon, we will take the unusual step of dividing the House this evening to show our opposition to the Trident renewal programme. I intend to set out three clear arguments as succinctly as possible for why there is no military case for the continuous at-sea deterrent—there is certainly no economic case...