Scottish independence: White Paper 'must be clear on defence'

Scottish soldiers marching An independent Scottish armed forces would have 15,000 full time personnel, the Scottish government has said

A committee of MPs has said the upcoming White Paper on Scottish independence should be "absolutely clear" on how an independent Scotland would defend itself.

The Scottish government will publish the White Paper on Tuesday.

A Commons Scottish Affairs Committee report said the document should set out specifics on costs, personnel numbers, equipment types, bases and alliances.

The SNP said an independent Scotland would have first-class armed forces.

The Scottish government has previously said an independent Scotland would have a defence and security budget of £2.5bn, with an armed forces of 15,000 full time and 5,000 reserve personnel.

Nuclear weapons

It said Scotland would be entitled to a share of current UK defence assets, and would take part in peacekeeping and disaster relief.

It is also committed to joining Nato, and has pledged to move Trident nuclear weapons from the Faslane naval base on the Clyde.

The Scottish Affairs Committee's chairman, Ian Davidson, set out a list of questions on defence which he said should be answered in the White Paper, which will set out the Scottish government's plans for independence.

These questions included:

  • Will there be a defence force which is army heavy? An army which is infantry heavy? Will historic regiments be re-designated as platoons, reserves or non-infantry units?
  • How big will the Scottish Navy and Air Force actually be? Where will they be based and how will they be equipped?
  • Is Faslane to be kept with its existing workforce?

The committee has held a number of inquiries into questions raised by the referendum debate.

It is pro-Union in membership, with its sole SNP member, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, refusing to take part.

Mr Davidson said: "Much of what the Scottish government have suggested up to now suffers from a conspiracy of optimism - the assumption that everything will go according to plan, that every other government and international body will fall in with the Scottish government's proposals.

"But what if this doesn't happen? What are their alternatives? The Scottish government must spell out its fallback positions in the event that everything does not go so smoothly."

'Illegal invasions'

The people of Scotland will be asked the straight yes/no question "Should Scotland be an independent country?" when they vote in the referendum on 18 September next year.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said Scotland had been "hugely short-changed" in its cash contribution to UK defence.

He added: "Since 2000, nearly 10,000 MoD posts have been lost in Scotland. An independent Scotland will have first-class conventional forces, which will play a full role in defending the country and co-operating with Nato partners.

"However, we will not waste billions of pounds on Trident nuclear weapons, or take part in illegal invasions like Iraq. When it comes to Scotland's defence capabilities, what we have we don't need, and what we need we don't have.

"Not a single major Royal Navy surface vessel is based in Scotland - the largest protection vessels stationed in Scottish waters are those of the fisheries protection vessels run by the Scottish government.

"With independence we can prioritise having the air and naval capacity needed to monitor and secure our offshore territory and resources."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Scotland politics stories

RSS

Scotland Live

  1.  
    Call 0500 92 95 00 or text 80295 08:28: Morning Call BBC Radio Scotland

    After an advertising expert criticised over-reliance on traditional Scottish imagery such as kilts and bagpipes to encourage tourism, we ask:

    Are bagpipes and Nessie the best way to promote Scotland?

    And following a collapse in sales of Scottish potatoes last year, the Press and Journal are urging shoppers to buy as much Scottish and British produce as possible.

    Would you change your shopping habits to help Scottish farmers?

     
  2.  
    @nlcpeople North Lanarkshire

    B-Line buses to following schools cancelled: Braidhurst, Our Lady & St Francis, St Serf's PS, Keir Hardie PS

     
  3.  
    @ScotRail ScotRail

    NEW: We've got a broken down train between #Drumgelloch & Airdrie. Services through these stations may be delayed. More info soon.

     
  4.  
    @SouthLanCouncil South Lanarkshire

    Closure update (8.10am) - Coulter Primary School and Walston Primary School (no water in the area)

     
  5.  
    08:13: Public 'back police guns policy'

    Just over half of respondents have backed the routine arming of firearms officers in a study commissioned by a police body.

    Armed police

    The survey of 1,000 people by the Scottish Police Authority suggested 53% were supportive of the policy.

    Almost one in three said it increased their confidence in the police.

    In October last year, following growing criticism from politicians and civic society, Police Scotland decided to back down on the controversial policy

     
  6.  
    @scotborders Scottish Borders Council

    School buses run by Telfords in Hawick area cancelled - H05, H08, H10, H13, H19 #sbctravel

     
  7.  
    @AnasSarwar 08:10: Anas Sarwar

    I can confirm that Sarwar snr. has resigned as Governor of Punjab. An honest man, doing the honest thing. More details soon...

     
  8.  
    @trafficscotland Traffic Scotland

    #A90 E/B at Walnut Grove (near Friarton Bridge) - RTC blocking lane 1 & 2, traffic not moving and police are en-route #BeAware

     
  9.  
    #ScotlandLive 08:05: Snowy snaps on twitter

    Who has today's best snow pictures?

    The BBC's Laura Bicker(@BBCLBicker) was hard at work creating a snow angel late last night.

    Laura Bicker making a snow angel

    While BBC reader Mr D. Lamont(Demo_D3005) has also been making the most of the snowy weather, saying "Perfect #snow in #Kinross for #SnowCars".

    Snowy car on twitter

    Tweet us your pictures to @BBCScotlandNews.

     
  10.  
    @trafficscotland Traffic Scotland

    A90 M90 J11 Barnhill - St Madoes - Accident, 2 lanes closed Northbound for up to 45 minutes

     
  11.  
    @SPEnergyNetwork SP Energy Networks

    We are aware of a #POWERCUT in #KA26 #Girvan. Our engineers are working to restore supplies. Sorry for the inconvenience.

     
  12.  
    @SouthLanCouncil South Lanarkshire

    Braehead and Carmichael primary schools have just announced they are closed today

     
  13.  
    07:57: Dumfries and Galloway

    Council says 22 schools now closed in Dumfries and Galloway.

    Details on the council website.

     
  14.  
    @scotborders Scottish Borders Council

    School closures so far: Yarrow, Kirkhope and Broughton primary schools. A number of bus services also not running.

     
  15.  
    07:47: On the roads... BBC Scotland Travel Latest
    • A71 Newhouse to Livingstone: very heavy traffic.
    • A73 through Airdrie: Quite a bit of overnight snow. Hearing A73 partially blocked by an accident between Thankerton and A70 Hynford Bridge.
    • A725 South Lanarkshire: A724 junction at Blantyre partially blocked by accident eastbound.
    • A702 Penicuik to Edinburgh city bypass: Drifting snow.
    • M80: Reports that traffic at a standstill at Castelcary.
    • Lochgelly A92 Eastbound: Blocked multi-vehicle accident between B9149 (Lochgelly) and Chapel Level, Kirkcaldy. Support vehicle is en-route. There is also a lane closure on the Westbound carriageway.
     
  16.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk Your views - Getting Scots active

    What would get you off your couch? What about your friends and neighbours? Are Scots just lazy?

    Send us your views.

     
  17.  
    07:40: 'Get Scots active' call

    Fifteen medical organisations in Scotland have called for radical action to improve levels of physical activity.

    Couch potato

    Physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, dentists, anaesthetists and GPs joined together as the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties.

    They said as much effort should be made to increase activity as was already put into encouraging people to stop smoking or drinking.

     
  18.  
    @CowdenbeathPol CowdenbeathPolice

    Serious road accident on A92 Eastbound between Lochgelly & Kirkcaldy West. Might be best planning an alternative route meantime.

     
  19.  
    @trafficscotland

    #A725 E/B at Blantyre - Traffic very slow on approach due to RTC,recovery is on-going but please #BeAware

     
  20.  
    Good Morning Scotland Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    Young carers in Scotland are unhappy and stressed - but proud according to survey by @CarersTrust #bbcgms 0750

     
  21.  
    @SETrunkRoads Amey SE Trunk Roads

    Current road surface conditions A7 Terrona #DriveSafe #Winterinfo

    Road A7
     
  22.  
    07:31: Snow showers, sun and light winds BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Met Office Amber "be prepared" warning for snow showers across central and western parts of Scotland. 5cm at low levels, 10cm+ over the high ground.

    Showers will gradually become less frequent and largely confined to the north-west and for most it will be a bright day with spells of sunshine . The best of the sunshine will be across Grampian, Angus and into Fife.

    Temperatures today will reach around 2 or 3 Celsius inland, 5 in coastal areas.

    Light winds for most although a brisk north-westerly will affect the west the Western Isles and the Southern Hebrides.

     
  23.  
    @NWTrunkRoads BEAR NW Trunk Roads

    Conditions on #A9 #Aviemore at 07:15 this morning #snow and poor visibility - are you prepared to travel?

    Snow
     
  24.  
    @trafficscotland Traffic Scotland

    #A92 btwn Lochgelly & Kirkcaldy - All lanes blocked N/B & 1 lane blocked S/B due to RTC. Please avoid the area for the moment.

     
  25.  
    07:23: Tennis: Murray v Berdych BBC Sport Scotland

    You can follow live coverage of Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final against Czech Tomas Berdych from 08:15 GMT.

    BBC Sport Murray v Berdych stats

    Tune into BBC Two, watch via the BBC Red Button and online, or follow text commentary and analysis here.

     
  26.  
    07:13: 'Home rule'

    A "Home Rule bill for Scotland" would be introduced within the first 100 days of a Labour government, according to the party's leader.

    Ed Miliband

    Ed Miliband will make the commitment during a visit to Glasgow later.

    The SNP said any suggestion the bill would amount to real Home Rule was "laughable".

     
  27.  
    07:05: Andy! Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    Here's @andy_murray practising on court 17 ahead of this morning's big SF v Berdych, live on BBC TV & radio from 8am

    Andy Murray
     
  28.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 07:02: Your pictures - snow in Scotland

    John Collins was out early to walk his dog in central Scotland.

    Dog in snow

    Send us pictures of how things look out your way.

     
  29.  
    07:00: Waking up to a white blanket Louise Sayers BBC Scotland

    Good Morning, and welcome to today's edition of Scotland Live.

    People across Scotland are seeing cold and snowy conditions. North Lanarkshire seems to have seen some of the deepest snowfall, with reports of up to 8 inches of snow overnight.

    Take care when out and about - particularly on the roads.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • The AmericansThe good guys?

    A US TV show examining the Cold War is offering a radical revision of history, writes Eric Kohn

Programmes

  • Virtual courtroomClick Watch

    The 'forensic holodeck’ system that recreates crime scenes as 3D virtual worlds

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.