Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife Sir Menzies Campbell today (Thursday) intervened in the debate following a statement by Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, announcing the government’s decision to order the “jump jet” joint strike fighter for the two aircraft carriers presently under construction. Sir Menzies said that any discomfort or embarrassment which the government might feel in reversing an earlier decision was more than outweighed by the fact that the right tactical and strategic decision was now being made.
Sir Menzies commended the Secretary of State for the “flexibility” he had shown in reversing the government’s previous decision and called on him to show similar “flexibility” over the future of the Royal Air Force at Leuchars.
Speaking after the debate Sir Menzies said “There’s no doubt that the government feels somewhat embarrassed by reversing the decision it took only two years ago but today’s announcement fulfils tactical and strategic requirements and will ensure that the carriers will be available together with the appropriate aircraft at a much earlier date to fill the gap in our defence capability.”
“I took the opportunity to congratulate Philip Hammond on his ‘flexibility’ and called on him to show the same approach to RAF Leuchars. I remain convinced that for security and strategic reasons Leuchars is the best base from which to defend the Northern half of the United Kingdom with the new generation Typhoon aircraft. It is well known that the government has gone back to square one in considering the allocation of bases throughout the UK for all three services. I shall continue to press the case for Leuchars as an RAF base. “