Skip to main content

Armed Forces (Scotland)

Volume 567: debated on Monday 2 September 2013

4. What assessment he has made of the contribution made by armed forces based in Scotland to the collective defence of the UK. (900043)

Defence of the UK is planned, organised and resourced to meet the needs of the UK as a whole. Units based in Scotland are an integral part of the UK armed forces and, as such, make a vital contribution to national defence. Scotland, as part of the UK, plays a key role in all aspects of its defence, and benefits from the full range of UK defence capabilities and activities. It is perfectly clear that we are better together in defence, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman and the vast majority of those in this House will agree.

Support for Scottish separation has fallen this morning to just 29%. Does the Minister agree that one reason for that is the lack of credibility of the nationalists on defence? Has he received any communication from the Scottish Government on how they propose to fund a standing army of 15,000 troops with a defence budget one tenth the size of this Government’s?

The data that the hon. Gentleman has reported to the House come as no surprise to me. The straight answer to his question is no; we hear all sorts of rumours, but we await a White Paper from the Scottish Government—apparently, it will arrive at the end of this year—laying out more precisely than we have had thus far what they plan to do for national security and defence. It sounds, however, from the data that he has brought to the House that that will be highly hypothetical.