SNP call for Defence Secretary apology over cuts

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Picture: AP
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Picture: AP
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DEFENCE Secretary Philip Hammond should apologise for a string of “closures, cuts and broken promises” when he visits Scotland this week, the SNP has said.

The party’s defence spokesman, Angus Robertson, described UK government claims that an independent Scotland could not inherit the country’s historic regiments as “ludicrous”.

Mr Hammond will be in Edinburgh tomorrow to launch an analysis paper making the case for retaining the Armed Forces with one year to go until the independence referendum.

An extract released by the UK government said an independent Scotland would not be able to “co-opt” Scottish units integrated across the UK.

But Mr Robertson said: “If there is one area which shows that Scotland has to be better at making decisions for ourselves than Westminster is, it is the lamentable record of the Ministry of Defence in Scotland.

“Three airbases are being reduced to one. Uniquely as an armed maritime nation in northern Europe we have no maritime patrol aircraft and have no ocean-capable conventional vessels based in Scotland.

“When Philip Hammond visits Scotland, he should be apologising for the litany of closures, disproportionate cuts, capability gaps and broken promises.”

The UK government paper said: “An independent Scottish state could not simply co-opt existing units that are primarily recruited or based in Scotland, as these are an integral part of the UK Armed Forces.”