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Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News

SNP HIGHLIGHTS NORTHERN DEFENCE FOCUS FOR UK DEFENCE REVIEW

29/07/2015  

ROBERTSON CALLS FOR MARITIME AIRCRAFT AND PATROL VESSELS TO BE BASED IN SCOTLAND

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has called for the UK to take northern defence priorities more seriously. Speaking at an event hosted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) ahead of publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) later this year, the Westminster SNP Leader Angus Robertson MP said “the UK has not taken northern regional security seriously enough and this must change with the new SDSR”.
 
In his speech in London he called for the procurement of Maritime Patrol Aircraft and for their basing in Scotland, the permanent stationing of ocean going conventional patrol vessels on the Clyde and a step change in UK engagement with regional allies in northern regional defence tasking. Mr Robertson highlighted the protracted absence of UK Armed Forces from northern maritime and air-patrol co-operation as unacceptable. 
 
Westminster SNP Leader Angus Robertson MP said
 
“As we approach publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review it should be acknowledged that the UK has not taken northern regional security seriously enough and this must change with the new SDSR”.
 
“While all our northern regional neighbours make defence, security and stability in our region a key priority, the UK has not. The UK did not even mention the High North and Arctic in the last SDSR. This must change.
 
“The UK has the only armed forces in northern Europe without Maritime Patrol Aircraft, has not taken part in NATO northern maritime patrol groups for years and has never taken part in NATO northern air policing which is based in Iceland.
 
“The Royal Navy bases all of its ocean going patrol vessels on the south coast of England and has repeatedly had gaps in their cover for UK waters.
 
“In recent years we have seen increasing foreign military operations close to UK territorial waters and airspace, and the UK armed forces have been known to rely on intelligence from Scottish fishing vessels and social media as they have not had the appropriate assets in place in time.          
 
“The forthcoming SDSR should signal that the UK will now take northern regional defence and security seriously. The Ministry of Defence must procure Maritime Patrol Aircraft and base them in Scotland which is closest to where they are needed most. The MOD should permanently station ocean going conventional patrol vessels on the Clyde to be close to northern waters. The MOD has to agree a step change in UK engagement with regional allies in regional defence tasking.
 
“Scotland is a northern maritime nation and it is shocking that UK government needs to be shamed into taking its northern defence responsibilities seriously."

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