rory presses case for longtown defence munitions site in parliamentary hearing
Rory has continued his high-profile campaign to retain the Ministry of Defence munitions site at Longtown in his constituency, raising the matter in a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee hearing yesterday into the Foreign and Security implications of Scottish Independence.
Rory used the meeting to question Sir Richard Mottram – former Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and a Cabinet Office Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator – on the wisdom of the Ministry of Defence’s 2008 proposals to potentially close Longtown and move defence munitions sites to Scotland whilst retaining only one site in England (at Kineton in Warwickshire). Rory suggested that Longtown should be kept open, because of the possibility of Scottish Independence. He asked Sir Richard Mottram whether it was wise for the government to go ahead with the plan to close sites such as Longtown.
Sir Richard Mottram responded that, were he still in government, he would go “slow” on the plan.
Speaking after the committee meeting, Rory said: “This was a very important reply from one of the most senior and respected figures in British security and defence. If Scotland were to go independent, the rest of the UK would be even more dependent on Longtown. I am delighted Sir Richard feels that it would be prudent of the government to “go slow” on such a decision. The Scottish referendum is not till late 2014. No decisions to should be taken until we see the result of that referendum – and I am delighted that such a senior figure is also expressing caution. DM Longtown’s potential closure is in and of itself disastrous to the area and our employment – but it is also important terms of national security. I shall continue to lobby Ministers to think very, very carefully about these ill thought-out proposals, and of course continue to do all I can to fight to retain this important site at Longtown for the good not only of our county, but of the country.”