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Trident nuclear submarines could move to the US if Scots breakaway

HMS Victorious, one of Britain’s nuclear submarines, which is based at the Royal Navy base in Clyde ANDY BUCHANAN/GETTY IMAGES

Trident nuclear submarine bases could be moved from Scotland to the United States or France in the event of Scottish independence under government contingency plans.

Officials have considered a range of options in the event of a Scottish breakaway, from relocation to securing a long-term lease at their present sites on the west coast of Scotland. A long-term lease would effectively create a British territory within the borders of a separate Scotland, the Financial Times said.

Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that an independence referendum would be “reckless and irresponsible”, with ministers arguing that one should not take place for a generation.

However, the return to power of the governing Scottish National Party in May, with a pledge to ban all nuclear weapons in an independent Scotland, is said to concern Whitehall.

An exercise was undertaken recently concluded that there are three options for the future of the Trident bases following a vote for independence.

The first would involve the submarines being relocated to the Royal Navy’s Devonport base, which experts believe could cost as much as £4 billion.

The second would be to move them to an allied country such as the US. The Treasury is said to favour this as it would be significantly cheaper.

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