Gibraltar lined up as alternative site for Britain’s nuclear submarines

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon wants to rid Scotland of Trident

LAST UPDATED: 27 Apr, 2015 @ 14:52


THE Rock could become the new home for Britain’s nuclear submarines if the Scottish National Party (SNP) gets its way.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon wants to rid Scotland of Trident but both the Conservatives and Labour have said they want to retain the base on the Clyde.

Moving the nuclear deterrent to Gibraltar would cost £3 billion and take a decade to complete.

A senior military source revealed that the Ministry of Defence was lining Gibraltar up as an alternative base to the Clyde.

“A party was sent to Gibraltar in January to determine whether the option could work. One can only assume it’s part of broader ­contingency planning,” the source told UK paper the Sunday Express.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo confirmed that they had the facilities available, having been visited by submarines from the UK and the USA in the past.


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  1. This article is featured in today’s issue of The National printed in Glasgow. It mentions an MOD Source speaking yesterday (26 April 2015).


  2. @Lindsay, the article you link to has this to say:

    “However, the claim has been denied by the MoD, which has said it is “fully committed to retaining the deterrent on the Clyde”

  3. It’s only a matter of time before Scotland has another referendum and next time it will be a yes vote, so they will have to move it sooner or later.

  4. Most of my West of England acquaintances (including Scots) who hoped Scotland would stay in the UK now wish they hadn’t! Without major restructure of the UK Parliament and regionalised Government that mentioned referendum can’t come soon enough. With the drop in oil income Scotland’s plans just don’t add up and the rest of the UK does not want to fund a member that doesn’t wish to be in the club.
    There are plenty of places in the UK that would welcome the Trident base to boost local wealth and provide the defence cover that NATO needs and Scotland will still have the benefit of.
    The UK elections are a farce this time around with the SNP threatening to bring down the UK and UKIP acquiring votes, some good intentioned, that could prevent either Labour or the Tories having a working majority at a time when good housekeeping is more important than ever

    • I completely understand how you feel about this. To keep them in the Union, the Scots were given massive bribes in the form of their own autonomy. It was independence without actually being a separate country. The truth is that Scotland is far better off in the Union, than out, but the SNP is determined to make them independent, no matter how much it hurts them in the long run. The drop in the price of oil was a timely wake up call, but the SNP are ignoring it. They will cause as much disruption to UK politics as they can to make the rest of Britain want them to go.

      Even though the people of Faslane want them to stay, preparation for the deterrent’s departure is only prudent. The King’s Bay facility can be used as a stop-gap measure for a number of years, but eventually, those submarines will have to be based in the rUK. The only question is where?

      Plymouth is out of the question, too shallow. There might be locations in Wales, but they would require construction from scratch for the docks and the storage facilities. Besides, Plaid Cymru might eventually demand independence if Scotland succeeds and that would mean another facility in England. The only port (apart from Plymouth) which regularly has a Z-berth is Gibraltar. I’m not suggesting it would be easy – as it wouldn’t be – but the fact remains that basing the SSBNs in Gibraltar would stifle any Spanish claims on the Rock, as well as increase the number of American visitors. There is plenty of space within the Rock which could be developed for accommodation. It might even be necessary to enlarge the size of the docks, to take the extra visitors.

      Of course MOD would deny that they are making any plans. They are only investigating the feasibility of such a move for the meanwhile, but they have to consider the potential of making this move if there is the slightest possibility that they will be evicted from HMNB Faslane.

  5. Being saying gib for months, let the jocks have there way and get anothr 5000 unemployment
    in gib would also stop spain harrissig the gib waters
    great news if goes ahead

  6. What constitutes the WHOLE UK Trident “nuclear deterrent” – one or two subs?! “Moving the nuclear deterrent to Gibraltar would cost £3 billion and take a decade to complete.” WHY??

    • It’s more than most people know. Firstly there’s the four SSBNs. Then there’s the minesweepers to clear the channels in the bay, then there’s the escort patrol boats to ensure security. It’s a fair number of vessels.

      The shore establishment would require updating, because you need a covered dock to remove the missiles and somewhere separate to store the warheads. Then there’s the shore accommodation required for the base and crews.

      £3 Billion is rather small when you consider the amount of work required, which could include expanding the port by creating a new South Mole to the west of the current one. All that work would take at least 2 or 3 years to plan from approval and another 5 years to put into effect.

      The real decision is to be made in two days time.

      If the Labour Party makes a coalition agreement with the SNP, as one of their red-line issues, they would demand the relocation of Trident. On the other hand, if Labour refuses a coalition and seeks to form a Government using a confidence and supply support, then Labour will not need to relocate Trident, but this Government would be very unpopular and could fall.

      If the Conservatives are elected, then Gibraltar will not host the deterrent, but then there is the Referendum and all the trouble that will cause for Gibraltar.

  7. “With the drop in oil income Scotland’s plans just don’t add up and the rest of the UK does not want to fund a member that doesn’t wish to be in the club.”

    You do know that the price of oil has jumped by 25% in the last two months, that OPEC are predicting a return to three figures by year end 2016 and that Scotland has paid more in tax per head of population in the UK every year for the past 34 years?

    “with the SNP threatening to bring down the UK”
    Err where was this threat made? Do you mean Sturgeon’s offer to lock Cameron and Co out of Downing street if Labour, SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru have an overall majority?

  8. “”


    DialM… best you go then – sooner the better. The rest of the UK will look after your nuclear defence. You stick to your dags and best of luck with the bawbees in your efforts to turn back the clock.
    Be a proud nation once more as you seek to break up the UK, which is respected the world over

    Brave Scots have been a cornerstone of Britain’s armed forces and now you want to slink back to isolation. Shame on you.

    • So, I looked at your links above and neither answered my question to your original assertion. The United Kingdom is a political construct put in place by bribed aristocrats. The SNP have not threatened to bring down the UK, they and many others merely wanted a referendum (A) to restore Scotland’s Independence and (B) to govern ourselves for the betterment of everyone who lives in Scotland.

      You seem to be terribly confused in your thinking, Scotland is not seeking isolation, rather it is looking to re-join the family of nations. As for your suggestion of shame, right back at you, how dare ‘you’, the British state and State Broadcasting work hand in glove against the democratic will of the Sovereign people of Scotland?

      You’ll see from today’s media reports the SNP are currently polling at 54%, some 34% clear of their nearest rivals the Labour party, who knows what kind of hat-stand thinking you will infer from that, but for me, it shows that the Scottish electorate have had enough of being controlled by a corrupt elite and are voting for a progressive party answerable toe electorate and a huge membership of (at last count) 110,000. The overwhelming majority of those intending to vote SNP are anti-Trident, they are not suffering from NIMBYism rather they see a dangerous weapons system based less than 2 miles from our largest city that will cost £100 Billion pounds over its lifetime, whilst one in four children are born into poverty. I’d rather my taxes fed children and helped create jobs rather than be spend on a system that nobody will ever use.

      • “The SNP have not threatened to bring down the UK, they and many others merely wanted a referendum (A) to restore Scotland’s Independence and (B) to govern ourselves for the betterment of everyone who lives in Scotland”.
        Yup that’s it in a nutshell. You can’t do that inside the UK, what would be the point. So go it alone. I guess it’ll mean the UK will break up allowing each country to govern itself. Hopefully with no financial help from England you Scottish historical fantasists will be excluded from the EU and become a third world country OR stay in the UK with each separate country having a fairer crack of the whip INCLUDING England, but that isn’t good enough for you is it. Sadly that would be terrible for NI and Wales. It would also lead to more fragmentation for the English regions. How divisive, selfish and reckless by the Scots apparently unwilling to tighten their belts like the rest of the world
        Incidentally if you live outside Scotland you probably didn’t get to vote as didn’t a number of my West Country Scottish friends and of course the rest of the UK weren’t able to vote either. How the Westminster Government allowed that to happen is deplorable
        I was ambivalent but the way the Scots have behaved since has made wish for you exit and PDQ. Importantly can you take all of the Scottish MPs of whatever party out of the Westminster Parliament so that they cannot vote on matters relevant only to England, Wales and NI

        • fantasists, third world country, divisive, selfish and reckless.

          Dearie me John, you really ought to watch your apoplexy, the human body can only contain so much pressure… then POP!

          Sleaze, corruption, bankers debt, covering up paedophiles, aristocrats masquerading as democrats, really Westminster has a lot to be proud of…

          Westminster exists to serve the South East bubble, the sooner the rest f the UK cottons on to that and acts accordingly, the better.

          Now get yourself out to the pool and breathe, there’s a good feller.

          chin chin

  9. Don’t see why the bonkers American-controlled subs can’t be plonked on the south coast, preferably within spitting distance of Westminster. That would focus MP’s minds a little better when they are considering the hundred billion they are likely to cost over time.

    • I don’t know where you get the idea that our submarines are ‘American-controlled’, because they are not. The Trident missiles are pooled in the facility at King’s Bay, Georgia, but once loaded into the missile silos on each boat, they are ours to direct. The United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent is assigned to NATO as a second strike weapon, but is targeted and fired by Royal Navy personnel under orders from Her Majesty’s Government.

      I cannot think of many circumstances where the Government would order release outside the confines of the Treaty, but to be a credible independent nuclear deterrent, the targeting and launch of these weapons is solely under the control of the British Government.

      There are no facilities in England which would be suitable for the basing of these boats. Devonport is only suitable for the SSNs. The SSBNs require secure storage facilities which Plymouth lacks. The east coast and London are too shallow for SSBNs, so you would never see these vessels on the Thames.

      As for the cost, the much quoted hundred billion is only the (inflated) lifetime costs estimated by CND. The actual cost of the replacement submarines are expected to be in the region of £15-20 Billion. There will be additional payments to the Americans for missiles we test, as well as upgrades, but the oft quoted figure of £100 billion is an exaggeration by the anti-Trident lobby. I hope that helps.

      It would help if you read this Parliamentary document on the Trident program:

  10. Murdo, I really wouldn’t worry if I were you, the SNP are going to take every seat in Scotland which will give Sturgeon a mandate for another referendum and this time it will be a resounding YES. Job done.

    • Don’t know where you get that impression Jane, because there are quite a few seats that the SNP will fail to gain. The 45 may be out to get revenge for their failed independence, but they cannot guarantee they will get every seat. Quite a few Labour seats will remain Labour and it’s likely that at least two seats will be Liberal Democrat holds.

  11. Oh give over with the flannel Cap’n. The truth is, Gib would crawl over hot coals to have the navy back, even in the form of toxic lumps of radioactivity in their newly dug-out docks. If the nutty Tories become responsible for stumbling out of the EU, then the cosy arrangement of fostering Trident will ensure the “Britishness”of Gibraltar, for some time to come. Picardo is currently bricking it at the prospect of an EU withdrawal by Britain.
    As far as pacifying the Spanish administration, this proposal would give them even more excuse to protest the presence of a “foreign occupation”. (These subs must sit very deep in the water if they can’t float where other ships do.) As for your sums and their source, we’ll agree to differ. Likewise the true independence of action by the Royal Navy and their masters.

  12. nigelpwsmith,
    more Nasty party propoganda – you must have some very lucrative investments in arms manufacturers.
    All NATO nuclear weapons are under the ‘actual’ control of the Americans and they and only they will determine when are used.

    The MOD is a grossly overstaffed and totally corrupt organisation that is totally controlled by the public school crowd. Heaving with useless retired generals and admirals that retire on 100% index linked pensions – just take a look at what they let the arms manufacturers charge the tax payers for a simple slot headed screw – try £40 per piece.

    80,000 parasites ‘working’ in the MOD and yet the IDF, the 4th largest army in the world gets by with 80 – corruption,corruption the stench is overwhelming.

    Get rid of Trident. Sack without compensation all the irrelevent admirals and generals – the insanity of having more admirals than we have ships – the whole world laughs at us.

    As for any argument that they have safeguarded the British people is complete and utter crap. All these unuseable weapons have done is make the UK a primary target for the Russians and Chinese. If the pyscho Americans were to make a lightening strike without reply by the Russians or Chinese it would still mean the end of life on this planet, so what is the point of having a hugely expensive weapon that you can never use unless you want to commit suicide?

    Since the end of WW11 the UK public schoolboy generals and admirals have resided permanently up the American’s rectum and the whole world knows that and so do you.

    Invest your money in some thing more positive – oh I forgot your only interested in profits today, for you.

  13. The Scots make me laugh. honestly, its becoming a very unwelcoming place to be foreign. The socialist regime would soon spend your GDP on, well propping up the socialist voters who want something for nothing.

    The drop in oil prices, would have officially damaged the books and money would have had to be cut in other areas. also saw a comment about contributing more per head in the last 34 years than any other, well about time, the union is over 300 years old. I believe in independence for them, but I doubt they have the savvy to do anything with it. big business, will leave, and you’ll be left to suck the oil out the ground with straws. Once that dries up or the next crisis hits, it will be same old chip on shoulder story that its someone else’s fault. makes me laugh.