Tories and SNP clash over defence policy

By Andy Mackie and Jenny Kassner

Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, sparked some controversy between her party and the SNP with her speech on the last day of the Conservative Party Conference. She launched a scathing attack on the SNPs independent defence policy.

Commenting on Alex Salmonds submission to the strategic defence review, Golbie said: “One fact underpins that document. Scotland would not have a one single defence job if we were independent. We only have these defence jobs because we are part of the United Kingdom.”

She went on to state that unlike the SNP, Scottish Conservatives would always act in the national interest, rather than the nationalist interest.

“Devolution was supposed to create a Scottish Parliament for Scottish Solution”, she continues, “but instead of being an engine for reform, Labour and the SNP have used it to put brakes on reform.”

“While other parties are stuck in the past, we will drive Scotland forward”, she concludes her speech.

Respondent on the behalf of the SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP laid the blame for the cuts on the Conservatives: “The only threat to conventional defence jobs in Scotland comes from the Tories”, said Robertson. He adds: “It is the Coalition Government in London which is planning to shed jobs, close bases and cancel procurement contracts.”

On Goldie’s allegations that the SNP would only act in nationalist interest, he commented: “The focus of everyone’s efforts should be to preserve the defence forces and equipment we need and the jobs that families and communities rely on.  The SNP will always put people’s jobs before party politics and it is disappointing Scotland’s Tory leader cannot do the same.”

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