NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'No decision yet' on RAF Leuchars, minister says

RAF Leuchars
Image caption About 1,200 people are employed at RAF Leuchars in Fife

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said no decisions have been taken about further closures of RAF bases in Scotland.

Mr Moore was speaking in the wake of reports that RAF Leuchars in Fife could close, allowing RAF Lossiemouth in Moray to stay open.

He said an announcement would be made as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the House of Commons Speaker has rejected demands for an emergency debate on the future of the base.

Calling for the debate, the Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, Thomas Docherty, had accused the MoD of treating RAF personnel in a "shoddy" manner.

And he said MPs would have to wait seven weeks for a chance to question ministers after the Christmas break.

The Ministry of Defence has described reports that any bases could close as a result of the ongoing review as speculation.

The Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife, Sir Menzies Campbell, said: "Reports to the contrary from anonymous sources will not detract from the campaign for RAF Leuchars.

"The defence case for Leuchars and its role in the defence of Britain's northern airspace is unquestioned."

Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP Claire Baker said: "Any decision to close RAF Leuchars would be damaging and dangerous both for the Fife economy and the UK's defence interests.

"The case for Leuchars is strong and any decision to close it will do damage for decades to come."

Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson called for an MoD statement, saying the department must "provide clarity".

He added: "The SNP supports the retention of all conventional facilities including RAF Kinloss, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Leuchars."

Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, Ted Brocklebank, said: "The case for Scotland's RAF bases is overwhelming.

"Since the end of the Second World War RAF Leuchars has been regarded as one of the UK's two main fighter strike bases.

"It has a pivotal strategic position on the east coast and is adjacent to a huge number of population centres. Crucially, £40m has been spent upgrading runways at Leuchars specifically for the Typhoon operation."

Also unclear

He said the case in favour of retaining RAF Leuchars was "unanswerable".

About 1,200 people are employed at the base.

It was announced earlier this year that RAF Kinloss in Moray would shut after ministers cancelled orders for the new Nimrod MRA4 surveillance aircraft.

The future of neighbouring RAF Lossiemouth is also unclear.

The decisions stem from the strategic defence review.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites