Labour MSP calls for answers from Lochhead


A Highlands and Islands Regional Labour MSP has once again called upon Richard Lochhead to answer questions asked almost two months ago on the future of RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth in the independent Scotland the minority government is committed to.

Peter Peacock had initially challenged the nationalists during the election campaign and then had written formally to Richard Lochhead in August seeking assurances on the future of the bases.

"The Nationalists claim that they want a national conversation on the question of independence yet when I pose the questions as to what would happen to Morayís air bases they go mysteriously quiet.

"This can only mean that Mr Lochhead and the nationalists canít answer, or have something to hide.

"In other words they have been rumbled and it becomes clearer daily that the bases would be run down and potentially shut in an independent Scotland," said Peter Peacock.

Mr Peacock has asked vital questions on how the SNP plans to avoid a devastating collapse in Moray when the Nimrods and their RAF personnel move south if they succeed in breaking up the UK.

Peter Peacock concluded, "So far this conversation is very one sided. Itís time the Nationalists answered the questions on this issue which could have such appalling consequences for the Moray economy and everyone who lives in Moray.

"If they continue to remain silent, I will continue to ask the questions that need an answer.

"There is no hiding place for the nationalists on this and not to answer is to treat the people of Moray with contempt."


Note : Peter Peacock asked the following questions in his letter to Richard Lochhead:

What share of the current Nimrods do the SNP expect to obtain from the (breaking-up Britain) negotiation?

If that share is greater than Scotland's population share, what share are the SNP hoping to secure?

What justification do the SNP have for arguing for a greater share than our share of population?

How do the SNP rate the chances of securing a greater share if the assessment of the UK (continuing) Air Force is that their national and NATO defence interests are only served by securing at least 91% of the current Nimrods?

Given the current RAF personnel and civilian staff at Kinloss is designed to support the operation and servicing of some 15 Nimrods, how many fewer staff do the SNP estimate will be needed to service the remaining (2) Nimrods?

Do the SNP regard 2 Nimrods as being sufficient for Scotland's defence needs?

If not, how will the SNP obtain further Nimrods and from whom do they expect to purchase them?

How many people do the SNP estimate will have to move to England to keep their own job?

What do the SNP expect will be the impact on house prices in the area when jobs start to disappear south in large numbers?

How do the SNP plan to handle negotiations about the new Nimrods?

For example, and given there will ultimately be slightly fewer than the current fleet and you could probably only expect one as Scotlandís share, do you expect to get the first of the new Nimrods and then none thereafter, or do you expect to get the last one produced, or if in between the first or last, which one and following what logic would you get it?

10 October 2007


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