Independent Scotland’s spies ‘would act in line with Scottish values’

Humza Yousaf's Government called the report An Independent Scotland's Place in the World
Humza Yousaf's Government called the report, An Independent Scotland's Place in the World - Andrew Milligan/PA

Spies for an independent Scotland would conduct espionage “in line with Scottish values”, according to a new report unveiled by Humza Yousaf’s Government, that has attracted ridicule.

The blueprint, entitled An Independent Scotland’s Place in the World, said a single Scottish Security and Intelligence Agency would be set up to replace MI5, MI6, GCHQ and Defence Intelligence.

It said the new organisation “would support Scotland’s role as a good global citizen” and improve national security “whilst promoting and protecting human rights”.

“As in all other aspects of an independent Scotland, national security would be delivered in line with Scotland’s values,” it added.

The blueprint, written by the Civil Service, also claimed that an independent Scotland could remove the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent from its Faslane base on the Clyde as soon as possible, while also joining Nato.

This is despite Nato being a nuclear-tipped alliance and Trident forming part of its “supreme guarantee” of its members’ security.

No timescale and no estimated cost

Angus Robertson, the SNP minister tasked with unveiling the report, insisted that removing the UK’s deterrent from Scotland would not embolden Vladimir Putin, but he could provide no timescale for its removal. The report did not estimate the cost of setting up a separate Scottish defence force or a new intelligence agency.

It also did not provide many details of a separate Scottish Armed Forces other than stating that it would have a “land component”, a “maritime component” and an “air component”.

The document said the details would be worked out in a defence review at the time of independence, but admitted there would be a “transitional period” in which Scotland would not have the “level of capability” enjoyed by other small countries.

Willie Rennie, a former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said: “Not content to play dress up diplomat, now it seems like Humza Yousaf wants to play at being James Bond too.

“The average Scot would much rather he got on with cutting waits for a GP than wasted time coming up with plans for an imaginary spy agency.”

Craig Hoy, the Scottish Tory chairman, said: “These propaganda papers – designed only to further the nationalists’ plan to break up the United Kingdom – are a scandalous misuse of civil servants’ time and money.”

The report was the latest in a series of documents written by civil servants that together form an updated prospectus for breaking up the UK.

It said the UK’s nuclear deterrent “should be removed from Scotland in the safest and most expeditious manner possible” after independence.

Shortly after Russia’s invasion two years ago, an adviser to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister stated that it “wouldn’t have started” if her country had not given up its nuclear weapons in the 1990s.

Asked whether Nato would be weakened by any disruption to the UK’s nuclear deterrent and Putin would be emboldened, Mr Robertson told reporters: “I don’t think so.

“I draw attention to what has been happening in recent months, which is that smaller, northern European nations have been joining Nato and underscoring how keen they are to work together, and I think Scotland should be a part of that.”

Mr Robertson also claimed the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force were not doing enough to defend the north-east Atlantic, arguing there was no “single conventional ocean-going naval craft based in Scotland”.

“We do have to understand what the challenges are, we do need to acknowledge there are real threats, we do need to acknowledge there are bad actors,” he said. “That is why you’re required to have the capacity to deal with them. The UK does not, we will.”