PM urged to say sorry for Fife Ness mix-up

Cameron: Challenged to debate EU by UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Cameron: Challenged to debate EU by UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Fife MSP Rod Campbell has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to visit the East Neuk and apologise.

The move comes after a letter from the Prime Minister incorrectly stated that coastguard stations marked for closure, including Fife Ness, would “remain open until 2015.”

Mr Cameron has since reiterated that the original timetable for reforms will go ahead with operations at Fife Ness winding-down on September 28 ahead of its official closure on December 31 this year.

Mr Campbell, MSP for North East Fife, said the confusion was ‘‘an insult’’ to coastguard staff facing redundancy or relocation as a result of the upcoming closures.

“It is rubbing salt into the wounds of communities that are facing the loss of a valuable public safety facility,” he added.

IMPACT

“David Cameron should come to Crail and apologise for misleading the people of Fife on this matter.

“For the Prime Minister to personally sign a letter giving such false hope suggests to me that he is blithely unaware of what his own Government is doing.

‘‘The UK Government’s decision on HM Coastguard Fife Ness will impact upon real people’s jobs, harm communities and potentially threaten lives.

“Moving the responsibility for the sector covered from Crail up to Aberdeen is, in my view, dangerously short-sighted.

“Perhaps if Mr Cameron does the decent thing and comes to apologise in person, he can hear first-hand the folly of what his Government is planning.”

Speaking to the Citizen, North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell said that he could see no way back for Fife Ness.

“It is very unfortunate that this misunderstanding should have arisen and I’m sure that the Prime Minister’s office regrets it very much,” he explained.

SAFETY

“Almost a year ago, I had a face to face meeting with the minister responsible to argue for the retention of Fife Ness but it was made clear then that the original proposals were to proceed.

“I still believe that it would be in the interests of safety for the coastguard station and all the vital local knowledge at Crail to be retained.”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The reform of coastguard centres will go ahead as planned. The Prime Minister has written to his constituent to clarify the matter.”