Former Liberal Democrat leader and member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir Menzies Campbell, has said that there can be no guarantee that every other member of the NATO alliance would be willing to accept the terms the SNP would seek in the event of independence.
The comments come after NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that an independent Scotland would need unanimous agreement from all 28 member states in order to gain entry to the defence union.
Sir Menzies Campbell said:
"The NATO Secretary-General has spelled out in black and white the entry process for membership of the most successful defensive alliance in history. Since NATO operates by unanimity an independent Scotland would require to satisfy all and every one of the other members of its willingness to accept not only the benefits but the obligation of NATO membership. To do the latter it would require to accept NATO’s Strategic Concept (mission statement) which sets out clearly that the deterrence is based upon conventional and nuclear means.
“Removing Trident from Faslane and accepting the strategic deterrence at the same time would be, to say the least, contradictory and inevitably feature in consideration of an independent Scotland’s application. There can be no guarantee that every other member of the alliance, particularly those who have joined recently and accepted the strategic concept, would be willing to cut an independent Scotland the slack which the SNP government optimistically anticipates.
“The fact that Denmark is in a different position from other members does not automatically mean that the alliance as a whole would accept any further dilution. To impose in advance conditions for joining is hardly likely to encourage the existing membership to accept unanimously an independent Scotland’s application.”