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Engagements

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2013.

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Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I take no pleasure whatsoever in the statement that I am about to make, but the result for other parts of the UK of the UK Government’s announcement yesterday is that there are no other shipyards in the UK where complex warships can be built. That is a result of the death knell that the UK Government sounded for Portsmouth yesterday. The Clyde is now not only the best place to build such ships but the only place in the UK to build the ships.

On the point about defence contracts not being let outside the UK, let me be the first to tell Johann Lamont—I am amazed that I am the first to do so—that UK defence contracts are already let outside the UK. It is not that long ago that the MOD let a contract for a military vessel to Korea. The MOD also leases military vessels from Norway.

Johann Lamont did not mention my Australian example, but let me say that it is not just Australia that the UK has approached. In 2011, a newspaper in India stated that the

“cash-strapped UK Government has approached New Delhi to jointly design and build” the type 26 frigates. In the House of Commons in January 2011, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, talking specifically about the type 26, said:

“we are in ... discussion with the Canadians ... Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey”—[Interruption.]