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Independence: Nicola Sturgeon unveils draft Scottish constitution with commitment to total nuclear disarmament

Unionist parties counter with pledge for further devolution of taxation powers

Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pitched nuclear disarmament against unionists’ offers of more devolution yesterday as she unveiled the SNP’s draft post-independence national constitution.

The move would place a constitutional duty on a Scottish government of any stripe to remove HM Faslane’s nuclear warheads from Scottish soil in the event of a vote for independence.

Ms Sturgeon said her government also proposed a constitutional ban preventing their return.

But it was just one of many clauses she suggested were up for discussion.

“Our constitution would be founded on the principle that in Scotland the people are sovereign, not the government or the parliament,” she said.

“We want to make the drafting of our permanent written constitution a fully inclusive process involving all the people of Scotland — it must be a constitution by the people, for the people.”

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament welcomed the pledge, making it “clear that a Yes vote will lead to a Scotland which is free from nuclear weapons.”

But when grilled by trade unionists at a Glasgow conference last month, Ms Sturgeon refused to say whether her government would allow nuclear-armed vessels to visit on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis.

Meanwhile, leaders from Scottish Labour, the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Liberal Democrats met in Edinburgh to pledge some form of further devolution in the event of a vote to remain within the UK come September.

The No camp would still see a raft of different deals under each party should it take power again in 2015’s general election.

Labour would allow Holyrood to vary income tax and impose a 50p top tax rate.

The Tories would devolve income tax in full and the Lib Dems would see Scottish governments raising most of their budget from their own tax take and borrowing.

The joint declaration read: “We now pledge to further strengthen the powers of the Scottish parliament, in particular in the areas of fiscal responsibility and social security.

“We believe that Scotland should have a stronger Scottish parliament while retaining full representation for Scotland at Westminster.”

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