The Defence Secretary had MPs laughing with his response to Patrick Grady who had tried to suggest Scotland was being left at risk from Russian incursion
By Democrat reporter
The Daily Express is reporting that disgraced SNP MP Patrick Grady found himself mocked in the Commons on Monday when he tried to take on Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
Grady, who spent six months in the SNP equivalent of purgatory last year after a sex pest scandal, had suggested there is not a single “armoured surface ship” permanently based in Scotland.
And the Glasgow North MP claimed the lack of surface combatants in Scotland could make Russia feel more emboldened about sailing into UK waters.
However, Mr Wallace pointed out that “a warship is best used at sea, not at port”, adding: “That’s how you deter Russia.”
His comment drew laughter from MPs on both sides of the Commons. Speaking at defence questions, Mr Grady said: “I wonder if the Secretary of State can confirm that there’s not a single armoured surface ship permanently based in Scotland right now?
“How exactly does that enhance our maritime security, protect the undersea cables or offshore infrastructure or make Russia feel any less emboldened about sailing into UK waters?”
Mr Wallace replied: “First of all, there are some of the most formidable subsurface boats in the world based in Faslane… But of course the SNP want to get rid of that, make 10,000 people redundant and then fantasise about how that’s going to do it.
“Secondly, a warship is best used at sea, not at port. That’s how you deter Russia. Tying it up alongside empty, with no doubt the Scottish Navy under an independent Scotland, is hardly going to frighten a person.”
Mr Wallace’s father was a soldier in the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards and he attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst before being commissioned into the Scots Guards in 1991.
The minister himself served in Germany, Cyprus, Belize and Northern Ireland, where he was mentioned in dispatches after a patrol he was commanding captured an IRA active service unit attempting to blow up British troops.
He rose to the rank of Captain before leaving the military to stand for election in the new Scottish Parliament, serving as a Conservative MSP for North East Scotland from 1999 to 2003.
Grady was found by a Commons probe to have made an “unwanted sexual advance” towards a male staff member, who was then aged 19, while “under the influence of alcohol” in a London pub in October 2016.
Earlier in Monday’s debate, Mr Wallace had spoken about funding for maritime security. He said: “The National Maritime Security Strategy details the Government’s approach to maritime security.
“The MoD (Ministry of Defence) funds direct operational activity to contribute to maritime security. Additionally, the MoD supports the Joint Maritime Security Centre, a multi-agency organisation to support wider maritime security throughout the UK marine area, including Scotland.”