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Trident will not go 'quick and easy', warns Hammond

The UK's nuclear deterrent, Trident, will not be got rid of "quick and easy" if Scotland votes for independence, the Defence Secretary is expected to say.

He (Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond) also wants to dictate the timescales for removing our nuclear deterrent within the first term of Parliament following independence.

But Alex Salmond knows, as I know, that the future of our naval base at Faslane would be just one of many defence issues that would be the subject of long and protracted negotiations if there were to be a Yes vote in the referendum.

Because if they insist that it has to go, there would have to be complex talks about the costs and timescales involved. Any notion that it would be quick and easy is just plain wrong.

– Philip Hammond

Read: Hammond warns of 'long negotiations' over UK defence

Hammond warns of 'long negotiations' over UK defence

There will be "long and protracted negotiations" over the future of Britain's defences and armed forces if Scotland votes to become independent this September, according to Philip Hammond.

Read: Alex Salmond: Let Scotland decide its own future

Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond dubbed the union "precious". Credit: PA

Read: Davey: Scottish independence would 'hinder energy sector'

The Defence Secretary will outline his argument for Scotland remaining in the union in a speech at electronics company Thales Optronics in Glasgow, touching on issues like Trident nuclear weapons.

He will say that defence "provides the security and the peace of mind that underpins almost every single other area of this debate".

He will add: "What we have is precious... It is our shared history, our common values and our unity of purpose which makes us what we are today. It is Scotland which makes the UK united, and adds the Great to Great Britain.

"Drawn from the four corners of these islands, nothing epitomises more the strength we derive from being a United Kingdom than the men and women in our Navy, Army and Air Force, coming together with a common purpose, to keep our country and our people safe and secure."

Read: Unionists 'could lose independence poll'

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MSP: Independence would 'cut energy bills by £70'

An independent Scotland would be able to deliver a £70 cut in energy bills, and maintain the UK's energy supply.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing explained:

Scotland's huge natural resources mean that we can supply electricity - reliably and affordably - and can help the UK keep the lights on and the bills down.

Scotland exports electricity to England and Wales every year - in 2012 a quarter of the electricity generated here helped keep lights on across the rest of the UK.

With the powers of independence we will deliver a permanent, ongoing annual cut in energy bills of £70 - by removing the Energy Company Obligation and the Warm Homes Discount from consumer bills.

– Fergus Ewing

Independence forces investors to 'hold on to their cash'

The referendum on Scottish independence risks scaring away investors who will want to "hold on to their cash" until the UK is more settled, the Energy Secretary will warn.

The energy sector in Scotland is booming and growing, with more and more jobs and attracting more investment.

I fear the economic and energy progress will be seriously affected by the uncertainty and disruption of independence, as investors will hold on to their cash rather than risk it.

– Energy Secretary Ed Davey

'Disruption' of independence damaging energy sector

The "uncertainty and disruption" caused by the looming referendum on Scottish independence will have a detrimental effect on progress in the economy and energy sector, a cabinet minister will warn.

Ed Davey
Ed Davey will warn against the economic uncertainty caused by an independent Scotland. Credit: PA

Energy Secretary Ed Davey is expected to issue the warning later today as he launches the Government's latest Scotland Analysis paper in Edinburgh, focusing on gas and electricity.

The paper looks in detail at how the United Kingdom can maximise energy investment to support thousands of jobs and keep bills as low as possible.

The UK Government said its analysis shows that people in an independent Scotland would have to pay £3,800 per person to match the £20 billion the UK Government has committed towards decommissioning in the North Sea.

Read: Scottish independence 'bad for business' warns Weir Group boss

Read: PM promises North Sea cash if Scotland stays with UK

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RSPB 'inundated' with calls over bird of prey poisonings

A Scottish charity has been “inundated” with calls from members of the public over the illegal killing of 16 birds of prey in the Highlands, as the reward for information about the deaths has reached £10,000.

Sixteen raptors have been killed in the Highlands Credit: RSPB

At least some of the dead raptors - 12 red kites and four buzzards - found dead in the Conon Bridge area of Ross-shire in the last two weeks had been poisoned, STV reported.

A police investigation into the killings is now underway and a £5,000 reward put up by RSPB Scotland for information about the killings leading to conviction has been doubled by an anonymous donor.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, of RSPB Scotland, said: “Our staff have been inundated with calls from concerned members of the public voicing their personal anger and frustration about this appalling incident and calling for firm action by the authorities against the perpetrators.

“Many people have said they would like to contribute financially to the reward already on offer.”

The charity has set up a webpage where members of the public can contribute to the reward. If the cash goes unclaimed, it will be used to help fund future RSPB Scotland wildlife crime investigations

Eddie Izzard shows off 'political statement' nails

Eddie Izzard has explained he painted a Union Jack and a European Union flag on his fingernails as "a political statement" about his identity as a "British European transvestite".

The comic, who is a long time Labour supporter, also brushed off the prospect of being insulted by Scottish Nationalist supporters after lending his voice to the Better Together campaign.

Reporters laughed as the cross-dressing comedian said "You've got to realise I am a transvestite, I've already had a lot of negative things said to me over the years."

Read: Eddie Izzards tells Scotland: 'Please don't go'

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