Scottish Independence Would 'Devastate' Defence Industry, Ex-Navy Chief Warns

Scottish Independence Would 'Devastate' Defence Industry

Independence could lead to the "unilateral disarmament" of nuclear weapons and have "devastating" implications for Scotland's defence industry, the former head of the Navy has warned.

Admiral Lord West said First Minister Alex Salmond had failed to address the future of defence should he win an independence referendum.

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme on Radio Four, he said: "Alex Salmond is guilty of having not even addressed the defence issues. He's sleepwalking into disaster. The implications are very, very far-reaching."

Lord West, a former Labour security minister, said questions remained unanswered on whether Scotland would be part of Nato and a European Union defence force, and how it would defend its sea areas.

He also warned there would be implications for the Trident nuclear sites at Faslane and Coulport in Argyll.

"There has to be a real question then of 'would we keep nuclear weapons?'," he said.

"Would this effectively lead us into unilateral disarmament because the costs of replicating the ship lift, the explosive handling jetty, the big storage facility at Coulport, would be billions and we would have to think of where that was put?

"If this was forced on us by separation, then a lot of the costs for clean-up, for want of a better word, should be carried by Scotland."

Lord West said independence would also lead to the loss of the ship-building industry in Scotland and result in the closure of military bases.

He added: "This would diminish both our countries, it is really worrying. The implications for the defence industry in Scotland are devastating."


What's Hot