SNP welcome 'Respect our Regiments' campaign
Welcoming a cross-party effort to secure the identity of Scotland’s historic army regiments, the SNP has stepped up demands for the UK Government to rule-out the further amalgamation and disbandment of Scottish raised units as a parliamentary question revealed that less than 3 per cent of regular army units are now stationed in Scotland.
The parliamentary question by SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP confirms:
-Scotland has only 4 of 148 major regular army units based in its territory -That represents only 2.7% of the entire British Army, yet Scotland has 8.4% of the UK’s population and makes up 32% of the UK’s landmass.
-There are 36 units permanently based overseas – these units are not on operations. There are 9 times as many units based overseas than there are permanently based in Scotland.
The SNP have also secured a debate on the future of Scottish recruited units in Westminster next week to press the government on the future of the cap badges of Scotland's historic regiments.
Mr Robertson said:
“The scrapping of the regimental names would be 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.
“As the MoD have just confirmed, less than 3 per cent of regular army units are now stationed in Scotland – that is just 4 of 148 major regular army units.
“The decimation of Scotland’s conventional defence capacity under successive Westminster governments cannot go unchallenged – enough is enough.
“This latest threat underlines the disturbing decline of Scottish recruited units and starkly exposes the extent to which the UK Government are running-down Scotland's defence capabilities.
“In contrast to the need for a well funded conventional defence presence in Scotland, the reality is completely the opposite. For over a decade Scotland has been short changed, losing more than 10,500 defence jobs and enduring a £5.6billion underspend.
“Given the disproportionate personnel cuts and the defence underspend that Scotland has already endured, the UK Government must abandon any plans that would threaten the future of our historic units.”
Commenting after securing a debate on the future of Scottish recruited units – which will be held in Westminster Hall on Wednesday 23 May - SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire Pete Wishart, who represents the home of the Black Watch, said:
“It is clear that proposals to merge the names of the Black Watch and Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders are just a cack-handed attempt to mask MoD cuts to the army in Scotland.
“Nobody outside of Whitehall wanted to see the amalgamation of Scottish regiments - it was a small comfort that the unique identities of the battalions would be preserved and now even that seems to be at risk. We should make better defence decisions in Scotland and not leave it to London."