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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

10 Sep 12. As part of its inquiry into a referendum on separation for Scotland, the Scottish Affairs Committee has been inquiring into the future of national defence and the defence industry in a Separate Scotland. On Tuesday the Committee is holding a wide ranging private briefing with the Defence Academy. around the possible implications of separation for defence matters in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Ian Davidson MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“Defence is a subject area where division and separation will definitely occur if Scotland leaves Britain.
“It is clear that the British Army, the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines will remain, that Scottish shipyards will close, and many other defence jobs will be lost. Almost everything else is unclear.
“The committee will be identifying issues that need to be resolved before any vote takes place”
A major part of this is the question of the nuclear deterrent. It has been proposed that all the missiles, equipment and functions at Faslane – otherwise known as Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde – would have to be relocated out of a Separate Scotland. The Committee recently visited Faslane to look at the implications of this for Scotland and the rest of the UK. Faslane is the Royal Navy’s main presence in Scotland, and the nation’s nuclear deterrent is based there. More than 6,500 civilians and Service personnel are employed on the site. It provides a base port to the ships and submarines of the Faslane Flotilla and supports dozens of other visiting vessels each year. Faslane is currently the base for all the Vanguard-class submarines which are the platform for the UK’s nuclear deterrent—the Trident missiles. On Wednesday 12 September the Committee followed up on these issues with:
At 230pm:
Professor William Walker, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, and;
Dr Phillips O’Brien, Scottish Centre for War Studies, University of Glasgow
In Committee Room 15
This session will also be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and available in quality video for broadcasters.
Ian Davidson MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“We have been told that Faslane’s facilities could be replicated at an existing English naval base, but that the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport is unique in the UK – it is equipped with highly specialised and sensitive equipment for safely moving and storing missiles and warheads, and building a replacement could take a decade or more.
“The timeline for Separation is much shorter than that – which could mean that effectively the UK’s nuclear weapons will be based in a foreign country for many years. There are also of course huge cost implications of making such a transition. Alternatively, unilateral nuclear disarmament could be imposed upon the rest of the UK by a separate Scotland. This week’s session follows up on these wider defence issues.”

House of Lords Written Answers for Monday 10 September 2012

Arms Trade Treaty

The Senior Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): My right honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Alistair Burt) has made the following ministerial Statement. I would like to update the House on the outcome of the UN conference on the arms trade treaty (ATT) which took place in New York from 2 to 27 July 2012. The conference followed six years of work in the UN to secure a legally binding treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms. The illegal, or poorly regulated, trade in conventional arms costs lives and blights futures. More than 740,000 men, women and children die each year as a result of armed violence. The UK has led international efforts to secure an ATT over the last six years, and last month the UN conference came close to reaching an agreement on a treaty. The UK delegation was led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and comprised representatives from the Ministry of Defe

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