Call for clarification on arrival of army in Leuchars

Rod Campbell
Rod Campbell
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NORTh East Fife MSP Rod Campbell has called for clarification over when the army will move to Leuchars after it emerged last week that it could take up to three years after the RAF moves out in 2014.

The new SNP MSP has invited Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox to come to North East Fife and explain the schedule of the changeover.

The day after announcing the closure of Leuchars, Dr Fox decided against stopping off in Fife during a trip to RAF Lossiemouth where the local base escaped the axe - a decision that led Leuchars Community Council chairwoman Carroll Finnie to describe him as a coward.

“It was very disturbing to hear that the Leuchars base could be left empty for a period of up to three years,” Mr Campbell said this week.

“Local residents feel that there is a significant level of uncertainty as to the exact nature of the MoD’s plans for the base and this new admission from Liam Fox will only add to those concerns.

“If the base was to lie vacant for three years, this could have a severe detrimental impact on the area.

“It’s not just local business which could be landed but a fatal blow, but local services including primary schools and doctors surgeries may fall victim to the lack of demand.

“Having put the local community through months of uncertainty, Liam Fox and the MoD must clarify this issue immediately as it’s opened up a number of questions.

“I have written to the Defence Secretary outlining my concerns and asking for him to come to Leuchars to share information about the future of the base as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Dr Fox has refused to release the details of any official contact between the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury over the decision to close RAF Leuchars.

The role played by Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander in base closures has came under scrutiny since North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell suggested his fellow Liberal Democrat MP may have used his position in cabinet to argue for retaining Lossiemouth, near his Highlands constituency.

Sir Menzies followed that up with a letter to Dr Fox asking him to release details of “each item of correspondence his Department has received from Ministers in HM Treasury in respect of its RAF basing review”.

But that request was refused by the Defence Secretary, who said to do so would be “prejudicial to the maintenance of the collective responsibility of Ministers of the Crown”.