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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

Willie Rennie fails—as Johann Lamont and Ruth Davidson failed—to say where else, if not on the Clyde, the ships would be built, but we will leave that to one side. He is just plain wrong on article 346. I will quote to him paragraph 1(b), which says:

“any Member State may take such measures as it considers necessary”.

I am not arguing that that provision should not apply. I am saying that, if the UK Government considers it necessary to award a contract to BAE and—for reasons of value for money and because it is the only place to build the ships—BAE says that the ships should be built on the Clyde, nothing in article 346 will prevent that from happening. That is the reality.

What I am about to say to Willie Rennie I say more in sorrow than in anger, because I wish Alistair Carmichael the best in his new post; I had a great relationship with his predecessor. However, Alistair Carmichael’s behaviour yesterday was shameful. He is the Secretary of State for Scotland and his job is to stand up for Scottish interests, but he is quoted this morning in the Portsmouth press as talking about taking jobs away from Scotland. That is disgraceful. I hope that he will amend his approach to the job quickly and I hope that Willie Rennie will never follow what he has done.