The future of RM Condor could be under threat if Scotland votes for independence, according to Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond.
The minister visited the home of 45 Commando this morning (Monday) before a full cabinet meeting of the Westminster government was due to take place in Aberdeen this afternoon.
And while touring the base, the Defence Secretary said that he was very impressed with the facility but that in the event of a referendum yes vote, there would have to be a rethink on Condor’s future.
He explained: “If there is a yes vote we cannot assume that UK forces would be based in an independent Scotland.
“So long as the UK remains together, the unit here will be maintained as it makes sense that 45 Commando should stay in Scotland.
“Alex Salmond will say anything to get a yes vote, he is not being honest on defence for Scotland.
“He should come clean.”
While at the base Mr Hammond also met with Royal Marines who showed him their abseiling and climbing skills as well as some of their specialist equipment.
But local SNP MP Mike Weir responded to Mr Hammond’s comments saying there is a clear commitment to retain RM Condor if Scotland votes for independence.
He explained: “The comments made by Phillip Hammond on his quick trip en route to the Cabinet away day in Aberdeen are simply incredible.
“The people of Arbroath will not easily forget the attempts made by successive Westminster governments to shut the base, and the strong community campaigns fought to retain it.
“The Scottish Government have set out clearly in the white paper Scotland’s Future the make up of future Scottish forces. These forces will reflect the needs of Scotland which, given the huge maritime interests we have will clearly include a marine force.
“The Scottish Government have made a clear commitment that existing bases will be retained for the use of our forces, and that includes RM Condor.” Read more in Friday’s Arbroath Herald.