Sir Menzies Campbell attacks Danny Alexander over RAF base decision
By Matthew Barrett
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Today's Times (£) has the news that Sir Menzies accused Alexander of political interference in Defence matters, in order to help his popularity in his own constituency:
"Sir Menzies went public with his irritation at his colleague, suggesting that the coalition may have taken the decision on an improper basis after an unsuccessful campaign to keep RAF Leuchars in his North East Fife constituency active. He said: “It’s a remarkable coincidence that these decisions should have been thought to assist the political credibility of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Or is it? The result of the closure of Leuchars is that the RAF has been banished to the north of Scotland. The Army’s preferences have been met at the expense of proper strategic analysis.”
Sir Menzies believed that Mr Alexander had used the might of the Treasury to help him to win a constituency battle. Mr Alexander has admitted that Treasury arguments about economic impact had played a part and helped to swing the decision in his favour. A last-minute reprieve for Fort William, which is also in Mr Alexander’s constituency and had been earmarked for closure, means that the Black Watch regiment will probably remain there."