NICOLA Sturgeon has told Douglas Ross not to "rewrite history" on the UK Government's promises to build warships in Scotland.

The Scottish Tory leader told the First Minister the country would have "almost certainly" not been commissioned to build five Type 26 frigates, at a cost of £4.2 billion, if it was independent.

He lauded the UK decision that will support 1700 jobs in Govan and Scotstoun with another 2300 in the wider supply chain.

He asked if the FM would "wholeheartedly welcome this huge investment in Scottish jobs and the economy by the UK Government".

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Sturgeon said while she welcomed the UK Government's shipbuilding announcement for the River Clyde in Glasgow, Ross should remember what was initially promised to Scotland.

During FMQs, the FM said: "I am duty bound to note that the original proposal back in 2010 was not for five new vessels it was actually for 13 new vessels and back then it was said all of that work would be taken on the Clyde.

"So yes let's welcome it but let's not rewrite history in the process."

The National: Five warships are set to be built in GlasgowFive warships are set to be built in Glasgow (Image: PA)

Earlier this week Rishi Sunak announced the construction of five more British warships which he said would strengthen UK security in the face of increased threats from Russia.

Sunak announced that defence manufacturer BAE Systems has been awarded a £4.2 billion contract to build five more Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy, on top of the three already under construction.

Ross said it was a massive boost to Scottish shipbuilding that was only possible "thanks to the United Kingdom".

"An investment of this scale in engineering and manufacturing jobs would not be possible if the SNP got their way," he told Sturgeon at First Ministers' Questions.

"If the nationalists ever managed to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK these Royal navy ships would almost certainly be built elsewhere and the highly skilled Scottish jobs lost."

Quoting economist Professor Keith Hartley, Ross said: “I don’t see a future for a Scottish warship building industry in an independent Scotland.”

The National: Nicola Sturgeon said an independent Scotland's navy would support the country's shipbuilding industryNicola Sturgeon said an independent Scotland's navy would support the country's shipbuilding industry

But the First Minister said: “An independent Scotland, like independent countries all over the world… as a full member of Nato would have naval capabilities of its own.

“Capabilities that can and would be served and improved upon by our world class shipbuilding industry and expertise.

“The difference between me and Douglas Ross is I have confidence in our industry in all circumstances – he clearly doesn’t.”

Sturgeon added: “If Douglas Ross wants to have a debate about the benefits, or as he would see it otherwise, of independence, then I really welcome that.

"Let’s have that debate and then let’s let the people of Scotland decide the outcome in a referendum."

The FM said if Ross was confident in his argument he would seek to have the debate not only "in the safety of the parliamentary chamber but in towns and communities all over Scotland".

Ross claimed the independence movement is "sinking", saying the First Minister is "up separation creek without a paddle".

He said the Scottish Government's track record on ferry-building, compared to the UK's, showed no ships would be built in an independent Scotland.

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Ross tried to draw comparisons between the shipbuilding of the UK Government and the delayed and over-budget ferries being built at the nationalised Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow.

Sturgeon told the Scottish Tory leader he should "be careful what he wishes for" because the UK warships lauded by Ross are delayed and over budget.

Responding, the First Minister said the UK Government had previously announced the first of the Type 26s would be in service by 2020 – a date which has since been pushed back to October 2028 – while also noting a further £230 million increase in the cost of the project.

“Perhaps Douglas Ross should turn some of these questions to his colleagues south of the border if he wants to come here and make a big issue of these things in this chamber,” she said.