Glasgow Labour MP calls for own constituents to lose shipbuilding jobs in event of Yes vote

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  By a Newsnet reporter  
 
A Glasgow Labour MP has caused outrage after demanding that a shipyard in his own constituency be stripped of a lucrative contract should Scots vote Yes in the independence referendum.
 
Controversial MP Ian Davidson has demanded that a so-called ‘break clause’ be inserted into the contract to build frigates that would allow the MoD to strip Glasgow shipyards of the work which could then be transferred out of Scotland.

According to the Glasgow Evening Times, the MP whose constituency includes BAE’s Govan shipyard, said: “There should be no unnecessary delays in awarding the contract.  The MoD does not need to wait for the referendum to issue contract.

“It could place the order with the provision that if Scotland separates it would revert back to the MoD where to place it.   There would be a break clause in it.”

The comments have brought criticism from Mr Davidson’s political opponents with one of the city’s MSPs accusing the Labour MP of “threatening” workers in his own constituency.

Sandra White has today insisted shipbuilding has a bright future in Scotland and said that Mr Davidson’s hollow threats to Glasgow shipyard workers will not go down well with the people of Scotland’s biggest city.

SNP MSP Ms White said:

“Workers on the Clyde will be outraged that someone who is meant to represent them is threatening them in this way, the workers on the Clyde have always proven that they get work because of the high level of quality work they do and to treat them in this way shows a complete lack of respect for them.

“The shipyards on the Clyde and the workers have demonstrated in the past that the Clyde is a great place to build these ships and this will continue to be the case in the future.

“Any uncertainty over the contracts is wholly due to the UK Government’s continual delay in announcing where the contracts are to go and nothing else.

“If we look at Norway and other independent countries of a similar size to Scotland they have shipbuilding industries which are larger than Scotland’s.  Independence will mean that we can use all the powers necessary to support our shipyards and encourage them to grow further bringing more highly skilled employment opportunities.”

Mr Davidson’s comments have coincided with news that hundreds of jobs are expected to go at the two Clyde shipyards.

In a shock announcement, BAE Systems has revealed plans to shed a possible 1000 jobs at the company’s three yards in Govan, Scotstoun and Portsmouth.  The three yards employ around 4500 workers between them, with two thirds of those based on the Clyde.

It has also emerged that Govan was considered for closure but was reprieved.  Confirmation of the job losses is expected to be made on Thursday.

The shipyard job losses appears to have caught the Scotland Office by surprise and it is being reported they are seeking “urgent clarity” on the matter.