Ministry of Defence Police

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 11th January 2012.

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Photo of Michael Moore Michael Moore The Secretary of State for Scotland

We have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on defence matters relating to Scotland. The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend David Mundell, last spoke about the issue to the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend Mr Robathan —who is responsible for defence personnel, welfare and veterans—earlier this week.

Photo of Eilidh Whiteford Eilidh Whiteford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Agriculture and Fisheries), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Women), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

As recently as November last year, the Prime Minister said that

“there are no current plans to reduce the number of Ministry of Defence police at the Faslane or Coulport naval bases.”—[Hansard, 23 November 2011; Vol. 536, c. 295.]

Since then, however, the Government have confirmed plans to cut the MOD police budget by 50%. I am curious to know whether the Prime Minister’s assurances hold water. May I ask the Secretary of State what proportion of that cut will fall in Scotland, and whether he believes that the threats to our national security have diminished sufficiently in recent months to justify a 50% cut?

Photo of Michael Moore Michael Moore The Secretary of State for Scotland

What the Prime Minister said stands. There are no current plans for the MOD to reduce the core police role relating to the security of our national institutions, such as nuclear safety at Coulport or Faslane. National security, including the security of our defence installations, is our highest priority. The reason we have so many MOD police in Scotland in the first place is our huge defence imprint, which would be put at risk immediately if the country were to become independent.

Photo of Alan Reid Alan Reid

I am delighted by what the Secretary of State says about the importance of security at Faslane and Coulport, and by his assurance

that there are no current plans to reduce the number of MOD police. I hope he will also be able to assure the House that the Government will never adopt any plans to reduce security at Faslane and Coulport, given the importance of the nuclear installations there.

Photo of Michael Moore Michael Moore The Secretary of State for Scotland

As I have said, national security and the defence of our security installations are our highest priority, and we will do nothing that would compromise that security.