Nato

– in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 21st November 2012.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Member, National Security Strategy (Joint Committee), Member, International Development Committee 11:30 am, 21st November 2012

What recent assessment he has made of the benefits to Scotland of the UK’s membership of NATO; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

Scotland is stronger in defence terms as part of the United Kingdom within NATO. NATO is the bedrock of our national security, and the UK is one of its largest contributors. There is no guarantee that an independent Scotland would gain automatic membership.

Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Member, National Security Strategy (Joint Committee), Member, International Development Committee

What discussions has my right hon. Friend held with the Scottish Government on their dialogue with NATO, given that so many within that Government are anti-nuclear and NATO is a pro-nuclear alliance?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

It is not clear whether the Scottish Government have had any dialogue with NATO about prospective membership and it is quite clear that membership could not be guaranteed. As the NATO Secretary-General said, the

“door does not open…just because you stand in front of it.”

Photo of Thomas Docherty Thomas Docherty Member, Procedure Committee, Member, Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee), Member, Administration Committee, Member, Defence Committee, Member, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Rosyth dockyard in my constituency works for the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy. Will the Minister clarify whether, if Scotland were a separate country, regardless of its NATO membership, Rosyth dockyard would get work from the Royal Navy?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

Many UK defence contractors benefit from contracts that are exempt from EU procurement rules for national security reasons, meaning that they have to be placed or competed for within the United Kingdom. Many such contracts have been awarded in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and there is no guarantee that they would be awarded in an independent Scotland.

Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Member, Draft Detention of Terrorist Suspects (Temporary Extension) Bills (Joint Committee), Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, Member, Intelligence and Security (Joint Committee)

Does my right hon. Friend accept that there is an inherent contradiction in saying that one thinks that nuclear weapons are an obscenity while at the same time wishing to join an alliance based on both conventional and nuclear deterrence? Are not those two positions wholly irreconcilable?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland

I absolutely agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Some honourable former members of the Scottish National party, such as MSPs Jean Urquhart and Mr Finnie, agree with him and they could not reconcile their positions. Many SNP MSPs continue to sit in government in Scotland, however, despite being unable to reconcile those two positions.