The UK Government is launching a defence of the British military in a report criticising SNP plans for an independent Scottish force.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will tomorrow promote the current set-up, with Scotland inside the UK, in a speech in Edinburgh.
The visit coincides with the publication of an analysis paper, prepared by UK civil servants, which aims to highlight the benefits to Scotland of the £34 billion UK defence budget. The Scottish Government proposes a £2.5 billion defence force, assuming a Yes vote in the referendum next September.
Further details of the plan are expected to be contained in the SNP administration’s formal “white paper” on independence in the coming weeks.
Mr Hammond, a Conservative MP, was due to be joined by Michael Moore at the report’s launch today, but Mr Moore was this morning sacked as the UK Government’s Scottish Secretary.
Extracts of the report released by the UK Government suggest it will focus on funding, jobs and the problems involved in splitting up an integrated military.
A claim that an independent Scotland would not be able to “co-opt” historic Scottish regiments has already been dismissed as “ludicrous” by SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP, who called on Mr Hammond to apologise for defence “closures, cuts and broken promises” during his visit.
By 2020, UK ministers say there will be a joint force of 190,000 regular and reserves supported by 53,500 Ministry of Defence (MoD) personnel.
The report concludes that transition to an independent force would be complex.