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Tuesday 4th December 2012 | 18:44
Dismissing remarks by Lord West at the House of Lords economic affairs committee today on defence in an independent Scotland, SNP Defence Spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:
"This is scaremongering without a stitch of evidence from Labour's Lord West, and his silly claim has already been dismissed by experts. Just last month, defence expert Ian Godden confirmed that the skills and expertise of Scotland's defence sector mean it would continue to succeed after independence. Mr Godden pointed out in evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee that national defence contracts are now rare and that an independent Scotland's defence sector would be in a strong position because it 'has an excellent supply chain'. Mr Godden - who is a former chairman of aerospace and defence industry promoter ADS - also stated that 'Scotland can maintain its position in defence interests because there is an industrial capability and engineering capability that Scotland has got which makes it attractive'.
“Lord West's remarks are the usual nonsense from the anti-independence parties - the reality is that Scottish taxpayers contribute over a billion pounds more for defence than is actually spent in Scotland. Lord West was a member of the last Labour government which oversaw the loss of 10,000 defence jobs in Scotland, the destruction of the Scottish regiments, and a £5.6bn defence underspend in Scotland - and the Tories have simply continued where Labour left off.
"Westminster closed two of Scotland's three air bases - Lossiemouth will be absolutely central and essential to the defence policy of an independent Scotland - instead of Scotland's air bases being utterly peripheral and unimportant as far as UK governments are concerned.
Commenting on separate remarks at the Foreign Affairs Committee about Trident removal, Mr Robertson said:
"With independence we can make far better defence decisions in Scotland instead of leaving it to London - including removing Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland as quickly as possible. A recent Scottish CND report said that Trident could be removed within two years - a timescale which was supported by Westminster's Scottish Affairs Select Committee, which is dominated by the anti-independence parties."