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Cabinet (Meetings)

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

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Photo of Willie Rennie Willie Rennie Liberal Democrat

I know a little bit about defence, as I sat on the Westminster Defence Select Committee for a number of years. I also represented Rosyth, so I know one or two things about Rosyth.

When Nicola Sturgeon talks about the order being placed in another country, that would open it to competition, which is the whole point about Korea and the Korean yards. That was an open competition, in which the British yards did not even compete. The type 26 frigates are complex warships, whereas the fleet tankers are not. She should know that, and if she does not understand it, she needs to get a bit more advice.

Nicola Sturgeon’s own doctrine says that warships should be built inside the state boundary and, as she said, article 346 makes it clear that that can happen. I remind her that she said that fishing patrol vessels should be reclassified, so that the work could simply go to a Scottish yard, but she expects the UK Government to ignore that doctrine—that is, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Her gamble is that the rest of the UK would do the opposite of what she would do.

I want the relationship between the Royal Navy and the Clyde to continue to deliver jobs and opportunities. Does the Deputy First Minister’s gamble not put that at risk?