by a Newsnet reporter
Commenting on news that MoD contracts for the next generation of Royal Navy support tankers have been awarded to firms in South Korea, SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said the decision was a blow for the domestic ship-building industry and called for an end to scaremongering by Westminster politicians who have spent recent months talking down the prospects of Scottish yards post-independence.
The anti-independence parties have claimed that independence would devastate the Clyde shipbuilding yards as the Royal Navy would not enter into contracts with shipyards outside the territory of the rump-UK. The news that the MoD has awarded Royal Navy contracts to companies in South Korea destroys this argument against independence.
It also emerged yesterday that the tendering process for the new support tankers began under the last Labour government. Labour’s shadow defence spokesman Jim Murphy has recently been vociferous in his claims that independence would result in a loss of orders from the Royal Navy to the Clyde.
SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said that the decision demonstrated that it was the Westminster government and the anti-independence parties which were creating uncertainty about the future of the Clyde yards.
Mr Robertson said:
“After months of scaremongering over the prospects for Scottish shipyard jobs post-independence, it is now clear that it is the UK, right now, that is creating uncertainty for the future of the sector.
“This tendering process began under the last Labour government, who must now explain why these massive contracts are being sent to South Korea.
“With contracts for the fast jets going to France and the Royal Navy tankers going to South Korea people will be asking where is the Union dividend?
“And with UK decisions like this we must now have an end to the constant scaremongering by Westminster politicians who continually talk-down Scotland’s defence-industrial prospects.”