“MAJOR” Royal Navy surface warships should be permanently based in Scottish waters, the SNP has said in its contribution to a review of UK defence.

The party set out a number of proposals for the integrated review of foreign and defence policy, restating its opposition to Trident and calling for a greater focus on “regional security”.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace claimed the plans were “delusional” and would lead to job cuts at the HM Naval Base Clyde, which is home to the UK’s submarine fleet and a squadron of mine countermeasure vessels.

SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald said his party had “put forward sensible suggestions on how to meet the modern-day threat picture”. These include an ambassador for “hybrid threats” who would tackle disinformation, political influence and cyber operations.

The SNP’s submission paper said this was needed in the wake of the Intelligence and Security Committee report on Russia, released in July.

On the Navy, the party’s submission said: “Scotland hosts no major surface warships, a fact which means scrambling the Fleet Ready Escort to Scottish waters takes more than 24 hours, as witnessed by the [Russian] Kuznetsov carrier group ‘visit’ to the Moray Firth in January 2014.

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“The Ministry of Defence should address this anomaly by permanently basing surface warships within Scottish waters.”

It continued: “Beyond the financial cost, the opportunity cost of Trident renewal is a heavy burden for the rest of the armed forces to bear.

“Scrapping Trident would allow this money to be better spent on conventional equipment, including ships and aircraft within the Royal Navy.”

McDonald added: “This is an important opportunity to set out our priorities and signal to the people of Scotland and the international community – particularly our allies in northern Europe – some of the guiding principles and priorities for Scotland as more of our fellow citizens back independence.

“As well as restating our long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons, we have put forward sensible suggestions on how to meet the modern-day threat picture: urging a greater emphasis on the High North and Arctic regions; on state resilience; measures to improve the terms and conditions for armed forces personnel; democratic oversight of UK Special Forces and an international ban on lethal autonomous weapons. The UK Government must also seek a comprehensive defence and security agreement with the European Union.

“What we have put forward wouldn’t look out of place in the defence and security posture of an independent, northern European country committed to the rule of law and regional security. We hope these proposals will chime with the people of Scotland, whose values we believe underpin everything in our submission.”

Wallace said: “The SNP’s plans for defence are delusional. Over the years the SNP has firstly rejected Nato membership and then more lately decided that they would want to join after all – a view that is incoherent with their views on the deterrent and the fact that Nato is a nuclear alliance.”