FIFE’S MSPs have put aside their political differences to join forces in a last-ditch bid to save RAF Leuchars.
The Kingdom’s 11 constituency and regional representatives met local campaigners at Holyrood before issuing a statement urging the UK Government to recognise Leuchars’ importance to Fife.
A decision on the future of the historic air base — under threat of closure or transfer to the army amid defence cuts — will be made by July 19.
The Fife MSPs said: “As we are now likely to be no more than six weeks away from a decision on the future of RAF Leuchars, we wanted the UK Government to understand that the base is of such importance to Fife, and to Scotland, that the issue transcends party politics.
“For nearly 100 years RAF Leuchars has been vital to Britain’s defence excellence and expertise, as it has been at the heart of our community for generations.”
They went on: “Leuchars is enormously important to the local economy in the area, sustaining jobs and supporting local businesses and schools.
“While a number of commentators have speculated on alternative futures for the base, our shared aim is a simple one, and that is to make the case for RAF Leuchars.”
Carroll Finnie, vice-chair of the Residents Action Force fighting to keep the RAF in Leuchars, said the meeting with MSPs went “very well”.
She told the Fife Herald and St Andrews Citizen: “The MSPs were very supportive and emphatic that Scotland’s two RAF bases at Leuchars and Lossiemouth should remain open.
“They were in agreement that our base at Leuchars is in the right place to deliver quick reaction alert to the northern half of the UK, intercepting unidentified aircraft.
“Jets from the base can be over Edinburgh, Glasgow and other potential terrorist targets in a matter of minutes.
“And Leuchars is still the right place for the new Typhoon fighters.”
The Scottish Government was this week due to make its final written submission to UK ministers making the case for retaining both Leuchars and Lossiemouth following the closure of RAF Kinloss.
The 11 MSPs joining forces were: Claire Baker, Rod Campbell, Helen Eadie, Annabelle Ewing, Murdo Fraser, John Park, Willie Rennie, Richard Simpson, Elizabeth Smith, David Torrance and Bill Walker.