No extra troops deployed in Scotland as part of coronavirus response

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that no additional troops have been deployed in Scotland as part of the wider government response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Irish Guards parading to mark St Patrick's Day at Wellington Barracks in London. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty
The Irish Guards parading to mark St Patrick's Day at Wellington Barracks in London. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty

The MoD announced last night that up to 10,000 personnel will be placed at a “higher state of readiness” to assist public services across the UK, if required. But none of those additional personnel have been deployed so far.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: “The men and women of our Armed Forces stand ready to protect Britain and her citizens from all threats, including COVID-19.

“The unique flexibility and dedication of the services means that we are able to provide assistance across the whole of society in this time of need.

“From me downwards the entirety of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces are dedicated to getting the nation through this global pandemic.”

The MOD said there were well-rehearsed mechanisms in place for the military to provide support to civil authorities in times of need.

Most recently the military has been called on to support the government’s response to flooding.

Several false rumours have been shared on social media over the last 24 hours regarding unusual military activity, including one fictional claim that troops could be seen massing at Strathclyde Country Park.

The unconfirmed Strathclyde Park report was raised by SNP MSP Richard Lyle at today’s FMQs at Holyrood, where it was swiftly denied by Nicola Sturgeon.

Stewart McDonald, the Nationalists’ defence spokesman, also took to social media to publicly denounce the Strathclyde Park claim as “false”.

He added: “The disinformation virus is only going to get worse during this pandemic. I’m starting to think we should get some volunteers together - people who understand this stuff - and create a new account service that just debunks and reports.”

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