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Response in Clyde sub row insulting, says SNP's Alex Salmond

By Ian Johnston

Published 29/05/2015

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has criticised the Government's insistence that Britain's nuclear submarine fleet based on the Clyde is run safely as "an insult to the intelligence of the general public".

Responding to claims of a series of allegations made by a Royal Navy submariner from Northern Ireland, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon dismissed Able Seaman William McNeilly's concerns.

He said the submariner had been incorrect, misunderstood what had happened or had based his concerns on historic events.

The Newtownabbey man, who went missing after publicising his claims after they were ignored internally, has now returned to his duties and has not been punished.

But Mr Salmond said the Government needed to do more than issue a 500-word statement to reassure the public that there was nothing wrong at the Faslane base, telling the Commons that "the public, deserve a better, more comprehensive explanation". He added: "That is an insult not just to this House, it is an insult to the intelligence of the general public."

Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt said Mr McNeilly's allegations had been "thoroughly and methodically investigated" and found to be "utterly unjust".

Mr McNeilly had claimed there are fire risks and leaks on board and security checks are rarely carried out on personnel and contractors working on the submarines when they are docked at Faslane.

He also alleged that alarms were muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures were ignored and top-secret information was left unguarded.

Belfast Telegraph

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