Scotland politics

Scottish Tory conference: 'Yes' defence plan not credible, says Hammond

UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said the Scottish government's defence plans under independence are not credible.

He delivered his message to the Scottish Conservative Party conference.

Mr Hammond told delegates that the defence industry in Scotland employed about 12,600 people, generating sales in excess of £1.8bn a year.

A "Yes" Scotland under SNP rule would get rid of Trident and would establish a 15,000-strong defence force.

Addressing the Edinburgh conference, Mr Hammond said: "A separate Scotland could not hope to develop the same level of protection and resilience."

He added: "The construction of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers alone - taking place just across the Forth Bridge, has already delivered hundreds of millions of pounds worth of work for the Clyde and Rosyth, with thousands of jobs in the shipyards linked to the programme.

"But the truth is this: the overall drumbeat of shipbuilding work for the Royal Navy - from the Type 45 Destroyers, to the Carriers, to the Type 26 Frigates - is just enough to sustain one complex warship-building yard. For the whole UK.

"So, when the separatists talk about maintaining warship building in Scotland to meet the needs of a separate Scotland, they are either deluded or they are seeking to delude."

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