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WISHART DEMANDS CLARITY ON FUTURE OF SCOTTISH REGIMENTS

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UK MINISTER SAYS SCOTTISH ARMY UNITS WILL “INEVITABLY BE LOST OR WILL MERGE”

The Scottish National Party’s Mr Pete Wishart MP, Member of Parliament for Perth & North Perthshire, has demanded clarity from the UK Government on the fate of Scotland’s regiments, after a report in the Sunday Express shows Defence Secretary Philip Hammond appeared to pour cold water over speculation that he was set to U-turn on plans to disband or merge Scotland’s army units as part of the Strategic Defence and Spending Review.

As the UK Government prepares to announce the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) – in which 20,000 posts will be slashed from the regular British army – confusion remains over the fate of the ‘golden thread’ of local historic titles.

Reports last month suggested that David Cameron had ordered Philip Hammond to perform a U-turn on the plans, in the face of a huge public backlash through the Respect our Regiments campaign.

However, Philip Hammond is quoted in today’s Sunday Express as saying that “some units will inevitably be lost or will merge.”

Pete Wishart, whose Perth constituency is the home of the Black Watch and who recently led a Westminster debate on the issue, commented:

“Just a few weeks ago there were reports suggesting that the Prime Minister had ordered the Defence Secretary to perform a u-turn on further amalgamation or disbandment, out of fear that it will boost support for independence.

“But now Philip Hammond has shown that he is every bit as ruthless as the previous Government when it comes to dismantling Scotland’s military heritage.

“Scotland’s conventional defence capacity has been decimated by successive Westminster Governments – it is a total myth to pretend that there is some kind of dividend for our armed forces.

“This is just the latest in a long line of snubs from the Ministry of Defence to campaigners across Scotland and beyond.

“The Ministry of Defence should listen to the widespread anger about these proposals, look at the huge grassroots campaign, and Respect our Regiments.”

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