UK & World News
'Scotland Split Would Damage Britain's Defences'
Scottish independence would damage the "very heart" of Britain's maritime defence force, according to the head of the Royal Navy.
Admiral Sir George Zambellas wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "I believe that independence would fundamentally change maritime security for all of us in the United Kingdom and damage the very heart of the capabilities that are made up of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Fleet Air Arm.
"While the continuing United Kingdom would eventually adapt and cope, the deeper impact would be felt in Scotland, which would no longer have access of right to the security contribution of one of the finest and most efficient navies in the world."
He also insisted an independent Scotland's "claim on the Royal Navy would greatly weaken the carefully evolved 'whole', as bases, infrastructure, procurement, spares, personnel and training face a carve-up".
Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said an independent Scotland would lead to "long and protracted negotiations" over defence issues such as the Trident nuclear weapons.
During a visit to Glasgow later, he is expected to say "defence provides the security and the peace of mind that underpins almost every single other area of this debate".
The Scottish independence referendum is scheduled for September 18.