By Derek Lambie
Whitehall has confessed it has undertaken “no forward planning” about what would happen to the UK’s defence arrangements in the event of Scottish independence.
Ministry of Defence officials have told the Scottish Sunday Express nothing has been done to examine the implications of a ‘yes’ vote in the forthcoming referendum and what they describe as the “hypothetical question of an independent Scotland”.
It is an embarrassing admission, given that just days ago the Scotland Office taunted Alex Salmond for having no properly formulated plan for the Armed Forces.
General Sir Richard Dannatt, the former head of the British Army, also demanded that the SNP be “honest” with voters about defence by publishing a detailed blueprint.
Using Freedom of Information laws, the Sunday Express asked the Ministry of Defence for “details of any forward planning that the MoD has carried out in relation to the possibility of Scottish independence”.
General Sir Richard Dannatt, the former head of the British Army, also demanded that the SNP be “honest” with voters about defence by publishing a detailed blueprint
Officials were asked specifically about HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, the future of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and the wider implications for RAF bases north of the Border, particularly those earmarked for closure by London.
But, in a one-sentence reply, the MoD said: “The Ministry of Defence has undertaken no forward planning on the hypothetical question of an independent Scotland”.
Last week the First Minister was accused of “misleading” voters by presenting a series of “vague” options on defence instead of a detailed policy.
The Scotland Office issued a statement saying it was “irresponsible and wrong” of Mr Salmond to instigate a referendum without a plan for the security of an independent country.
General Dannatt, a former Chief of the General Staff, also criticised the First Minister saying: “He needs to be open about what the sizes of the armed forces would be. There should be initial discussion [with Westminster] ahead of the referendum so voters know what they are likely to get.”
Although little has been published on the subject, experts believe that there would be negotiations between the Westminster and Holyrood governments to thrash out a share of the Armed Forces and other assets.
Courtesy of the Scottish Sunday Express