By a Newsnet reporter

Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft is facing embarrassment today after his own poll showed only 35% of people in Scotland believe Trident should remain in an independent Scotland, compared with 50% who disagree.

The Tory Peer conducted the poll to supposedly show ‘more than half of Scots are in favour of nuclear weapons’ when in fact only 37% of Scots believe so in principle, compared with 48% who do not.

However Mr Ashcroft claimed that his poll contradicts a recent Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) survey which found that three-fifths of people in Scotland oppose a replacement for Trident (60%).  Mr Ashcroft believes this poll was biased.

He said:

“It is always worth looking twice at any survey that seems to show that the public support the agenda of whoever commissioned it.  The numbers served CND’s purpose and were duly seized upon by parts of the Scottish press, and the SNP which declared the issue a huge opportunity for the independence campaign.”

Opponents of nuclear weapons and the renewal of Trident have accused Mr Ashcroft of being guilty of the same thing he complains about in the CND poll.  Mr Ashcroft’s poll did not mention the total costs of the Trident replacement in his question, and his poll has likewise been seized upon by sections of the Scottish press and the anti-independence parties.

An SNP spokeswoman said:

“We are extremely confident that a majority of people in Scotland want to get rid of Trident nuclear weapons, in line with every other survey of opinion and the recent overwhelming vote in the Scottish Parliament. Lord Ashcroft is guilty of the very thing he complains about.”

Arthur West, chairman of Scottish CND, said: “[The Ashcroft poll] flies in the face of our own research. I don’t know if Lord Ashcroft gets out very much but we do and there’s clear opposition.

“The other thing is that we’re finding that people who might not necessarily side with us are coming to our side because of the economic situation and the costs.”

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:

“Now that Lord Ashcroft has released the full details of his poll, it in fact confirms Scottish opposition to nuclear weapons being based here. Just 37% of Scots support the UK having nuclear weapons, and even less – 35% – would want Trident to stay in Scotland after independence.

“We are extremely confident that a majority of people in Scotland want to get rid of Trident nuclear weapons – as this poll actually indicates, in line with every other survey of opinion, and the recent overwhelming vote in the Scottish Parliament.

“Lord Ashcroft is guilty of the very thing he complains about – his question only included the procurement cost of a Trident replacement, when independent research shows that its lifetime costs will be nearly £100 billion. Only a Yes vote next September can get rid of Trident for Scotland, so that we can spend Scotland’s share of this money helping to build a fairer society and stronger economy.”


2013-05-11 01:19

“I don’t know if Lord Ashcroft gets out very much but we do and there’s clear opposition”.

This Arthur West fellow doesn’t know what he’s talking about I have it on good authority that the good Lord Ashcroft Takes to the Hounds at every opportunity throughout Hampshire AND Surrey and is often seen walking about Mayfair and indeed from Mayfair down into Knightsbridge.

On a fine day he’s been known to wander down as far as South Kensington and even Chelsea, all the time talking with the chaps about matters political.

Be lucky that you do not have recourse to your legal representation sir following such wild remarks!!

VOTE NO TO MAINTAIN SCOTLAND’S POSITION IN THE UNION – albeit low position as worthy of its status.
2013-05-11 07:12


2013-05-11 06:51

Since Lord Ashcroft isn’t the one living next door to said nuclear target, his opinion is neither sought nor overly important. In fact I’d go as far as to say his poll could and should be deemed an unwanted intervention in the referendum debate. I thought Westminster was going to steer clear of Scotland’s referendum? They haven’t to this point I know, but it’s the principle of the thing y’know. I know most Westminster parties would have to use a dictionary to look the word up, but ‘principle’ is quite important in this debate.
2013-05-11 08:20

What’s nice about this is that by commissioning this poll, Lord Ashcroft recognises that the Scottish people alone should decide these matters.
2013-05-11 08:49

My Tory supporter brother-in-law reads the Daily Torygraph. While visiting I noticed the Ashcroft Poll headlined in his Friday edition, claiming a majority of Scots supported retaining Trident. I then checked on my twitter account and on NNS, both of which sources soon put this matter right with unskewed figures!

I also noticed an article by the anti-SNP and Salmond hater, Alan Cochrane, which claimed unbelievably that Alex Salmond is “hammered” every week by the inestimable Johann Lamont??? Obviously Cochrane watches a different version of the weekly FMQs than I do – probably in his blinkered alternative universe, where there is no pesky SNP to upset the unionist status quo utopia!
2013-05-11 10:47

O/T story in the Herald say the BBC are sending staff from London to cover the Edinburgh festival, Scotlands largest cultural event, while cutting staff at Pacific Quay.
2013-05-11 13:17

I believe Baron Ashcroft has a mansion in Maidenhead. Surely such an ardent supporter of Imperial might would not object to a few US type silos to be placed on his land to help further the defence of the realm.
2013-05-11 13:25

The problem is that the public read Ashcroft`s findings in the mainstream media and that`s what will stick in their minds along with the other torrent of distorted facts and figures. Stories like this are needed to counter the Unionist propaganda, but it has to get to the masses if independence has any hope of success.
The `YES` campaign and the SNP also need to up their game NOW as November is leaving it too late to have a serious impact. Just my opinion.

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