Scotland politics

Moves to scrap Nimrod patrol raises concerns of MPs

MPs have said they are "seriously concerned" about moves to scrap the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft programme.

A report by Westminster's Defence Committee the move would leave the UK dependent on other nations.

The committee was worried about how well the armed forces could react.

However, the UK government defended its plans saying a wide range of planes, helicopters, ships and submarines were carrying out maritime surveillance.

Chairman of the committee, James Arbuthnot, said: "We are unconvinced that the MoD has the capacity to respond to any escalation in the risks that may appear beyond the UK's shores.

"Furthermore, we believe the risk is likely to worsen in the medium term as further maritime surveillance capabilities are withdrawn or not yet filled."

The committee concluded that the UK government needed to explain how it would deal with the potential risk to maritime safety.

Responding to the criticism, Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan said that maritime surveillance was being delivered by a wide range of vessels and aircraft.

He added that the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 programme was the "right decision".

Mr Robathan said: "The project was hundreds of millions over budget, years late and needed considerable further funding to rectify ongoing technical problems."