Questions over regiments decision delay

An SNP MP has questioned whether a decision on the future of Scottish recruited units, threatened by UK defence cuts, has been delayed so as not to damage the launch of the ‘No’ campaign.

A final decision on cutting Army units has repeatedly been delayed by Downing Street over worries about antagonising people in Scotland ahead of the independence referendum. Ministers are sensitive about the issue given the massive and disproportionate defence cuts made by the UK Government in Scotland over the last decade.

Perth and North Perthshire SNP MP, Pete Wishart, who sponsored a debate in the House of Commons on the future of Scottish recruited units and is MP for the home base of the Black Watch, said:

“The UK Government have left defence personnel and communities facing uncertainty for months over the future of these units, and it would be disgraceful if these delays had been contrived so as not to damage the launch of the No campaign.

“Downing Street are known to be sensitive about the decision given the referendum and the UK Government’s track record of massive and disproportionate cuts to Scotland’s defence footprint over the last decade – which has seen the loss of more than 11,000 defence jobs and £5.6bn underspend.

“The scrapping of the regimental names would be a further disgraceful betrayal of Scotland’s historic units – it would also completely fly in the face of promises by the Tories when they were in opposition that they would reinstate Scottish army units.

“The decimation of Scotland’s conventional defence capacity under successive Westminster governments cannot go unchallenged – enough is enough.

“With independence, we will keep the current unit names and tradition - and should the worst happen and these units be scrapped by the Tories, an SNP Government in an independent Scotland will reinstate them as part of a modern, properly equipped, conventional Scottish Defence Force.

"Instead of the anti-independence parties scrapping Scotland's regimental tradition and dumping Trident on Scotland, with independence we will keep the historic units and get rid of Trident."

"We can make better defence decisions in Scotland and not leave it to London."