Darling urges military personnel to help defend Union

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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
Labour MP Alistair Darling will today urge armed forces personnel across the UK to join the fight against Scottish independence.
 
The head of Better Together is set to attend the Scottish Conservative conference in Stirling where he will launch ‘Forces Together’, the military counterpart to the political campaign group which allies Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems.

The Better Together chairman will join senior Conservatives in Stirling at the launch the Forces Together group to argue that the Armed Forces are stronger as part of the UK.

The visit by the former Labour chancellor to a Conservative party conference saw Prime Minister David Cameron describe the Edinburgh Labour MP as “the darling of the conference” in his speech to conference on Friday.

Speaking before his visit, Mr Darling said: “Today marks the first step towards launching our new Forces Together group later in the summer.  The British Armed Forces are a source of pride for us all. Over the next few weeks and months we will be visiting military communities and talking to people there about just how important it is to them that Scotland remains a part of the United Kingdom.”

A Forces Together promotional film will be shown at the conference which features former members of the Armed Forces supporting the Union.

The move to actively involve serving soldiers in the campaign against independence will cause concern after media reports suggested links were being formed between some members of the armed forces and the ultra-right wing English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party.

According to the Times newspaper, some serving soldiers are now facing court martials after posting support for the far right groups on social media sites.  Images have also emerged apparently showing soldiers on active service brandishing their weapons in front of military trucks with EDL banners draped over them.

EDL leader, Tommy Robinson, has repeatedly called for the support of the Armed Forces, presenting them as natural allies.

Last week he tweeted: “Armed forces support Edl,  Edl support armed forces,” along with an image depicting a soldier in front of an EDL banner.

It also follows revelations in the Herald newspaper that an Ulster based loyalist group with links to Loyalist paramilitary group the UVF, is planning to come to Scotland in order to join the campaign against independence.

According to the Herald, The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) said it would send a delegation “in the coming months” to take part in referendum campaigning and attacked what it termed ‘Lundy’ type individuals, a term commonly used to refer to traitors.

The newspaper also reported on the emergence of another group calling itself the Commonwealth Unionist Party which has been protesting outside Glasgow City Council Chambers calling for local authority to fly the Union Flag more often.