Tory rebel joins campaign to save Clyde Coastguard

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The Conservative leader of south Ayrshire council has given his backing to a campaign to keep the Clyde Coastguard centre in Greenock open.

Bill McIntosh, the leader of South Ayrshire Council, has written to First Minister Alex Salmond making clear the council’s unanimous backing for the retention of the vital service.

In the letter the Tory councillor described the UK coalition’s plans as “very worrying” and claimed that the resulting 31 job losses would mean safety being compromised with local knowledge of the waters lost.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to save the base, applauded Mr McIntosh’s decision.

Mr McMillan said:

“Everyone who values saving lives over saving money wants the Clyde Coastguard station to remain open, so the support of Mr McIntosh and South Ayrshire Council is most welcome.”

“I hope Councillor McIntosh has also written to Prime Minister David Cameron as the future of the emergency service responsible for the safety of our people using our coastline lies in the hands of his own Tory party, and it is Westminster that is running the consultation which has now closed.”

“The Scottish Government and the First Minister have already given their overwhelming support to retaining Clyde and other coastguard stations across Scotland.”

Mr McMillan urged Mr McIntosh to call on the four contenders for the leadership of the Scottish Tory party to publicly back the campaign.

He added: “Despite Mr McIntosh’s support coming late in the day this is a positive move and only increases the pressure on the UK government to reverse their short sighted and dangerous plans.”

“The best course of action for the future safeguarding of Greenock and all Coastguard station services in Scotland would be to devolve coastguard services.”