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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


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.

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

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."

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Family's joy as former soldier is released from Indian jail

The sister of a former soldier who's been in prison in India since October said the family are 'elated' he's been released on bail.

Nick Dunn, from Ashington, was arrested on weapons charges after a security ship he was working on was stopped.

He left the jail in Chennai this morning along with four other British men.

But they must remain in the country while they fight to get the charges against them dropped.

MORE: Former soldiers released on bail from Indian prison


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Prisoners released from jail in India on weapons charges

A man from Chester has been released on bail after being held in an Indian jail on weapons charges since October.

Ray Tindall is one of five British men who left prison this morning, but they must stay in the country while they fight to have charges against them dropped.

Ray Tindall from Chester
Paul Towers from Bootle

Meanwhile Paul Towers from Bootle remains in custody along with the captain of the ship they were working on.

  1. Tyne Tees

Former soldiers released on bail from Indian prison

Nick Dunn has been released on bail from prison in India. Credit: Family photo

Two former soldiers from the region held in an Indian prison since October have left jail this morning after a long battle by lawyers and their families to free them.

Nick Dunn from Ashington and Nicholas Simpson from near Catterick have been released on bail but must stay in India while they fight to have charges against them dropped.

A third man, Paul Towers from near York, remains in prison along with the captain of the ship they were working on. He was the most senior member of the six British men on board.

The prison in India where the men are being held. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

They were imprisoned almost six months ago after what they thought was a routine paperwork check aboard their security vessel Seaman Guard Ohio turned into them all being arrested.

Their company AdvanFort has always insisted the men were working to provide protection to other ships from pirate attacks, but the Indian courts have pressed weapons charges on the Brits.

Five of the six Britons were granted bail on Wednesday March 26 but have only just been released.

One of their bail conditions is that they can't leave the country. They could only return to the UK if charges against them are dropped.

Top general warns Army cuts are 'one hell of a risk'

Restructuring the Army is "one hell of a risk" that will weaken the armed forces, one of Britain's most senior generals has warned.

The Government is cutting the regular Army from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.

General Officer Commanding, Major General Richard Shirreff pictured during a Remembrance Day Service in 2006. Credit: PA

In an interview with the Sunday Times (£), General Sir Richard Shirreff said: "The sort of defence cuts we have seen... have really hollowed out the British armed forces and I think that people need to sit up and recognise that."

“I wouldn’t want to let anybody think that I think that Army 2020 is good news, it’s not.”

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