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Cabinet (Meetings)

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 do not know how closely Willie Rennie has looked at the issue. I am not arguing that the type 26 should not have what is called in the technical language the article 346 exemption; I am simply saying that there is nothing in the context of an article 346 exemption that would prevent those frigates from being built in Scottish yards.

The reality that nobody can get away from—which I think we should use as a big advantage for the Clyde, not as something to argue about—is that the Clyde is now not only the best place to build the frigates, but is the only place to build them. That is not something that I particularly relish. As I said earlier, I am deeply sorry for Portsmouth following yesterday’s announcement, but it makes the Clyde the only place to build such ships. That is the reality.

In this morning’s edition of The Times, Alex Ashbourne-Walmsley, who is a London-based defence consultant, said that

“Portsmouth on its own simply doesn’t have the capacity to build a ... new class of large, complex warships”.

Portsmouth does not have the capacity, so the only place in the UK that has it is the Clyde, which is something that we should say is good for the Clyde.