Richard Lochhead accused of using Kinloss Barracks as "political football" after confirmation site will remain open
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MORAY MSP Richard Lochhead has been accused by MP Douglas Ross of using the closure of Kinloss Barracks as a "political football".
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead had previously expressed concern about the future of the barracks, saying last week it was "extremely worrying" that assurances it would remain open had not been given.
Confirmation was given by the Ministry of Defence this afternoon that the barracks will remain open.
Commenting after that confirmation came, Douglas Ross said rumours surrounding the closure were nothing more than a "myth" that the SNP "peddled".
He said: “Over the last few weeks, Richard Lochhead and senior SNP members in Moray have used the future of Kinloss Barracks as a political football, but there was absolutely no substance in their claims.
"Understandably this raised concerns amongst those currently serving at Kinloss and was highly irresponsible. Despite what the SNP claimed we will see investment at Kinloss.
“I urged at the time for care to be taken about what was said and done, and I’m pleased that the majority of local people and stakeholders agreed and followed the same course of action.
"However, I cannot ignore that as recently as the beginning of this week Richard Lochhead was still peddling the myth the Kinloss Barracks might close."
Mr Lochhead, who earlier today said he was pleased to hear the barracks will be remaining open, said concerns were in the public domain and that he was "standing up for local interests".
He also pointed to a meeting of the Moray Economic Partnership in October, after rumours of the closure.
He said: “I was responding to concerns that were in the public domain and also following a letter from a UK Government minister, who didn’t rule out the barracks being in the mix for closure.
"By attacking me, he is attacking the local economic partnership that had a special meeting to discuss the future of the barracks.
"I will always stand up for local interests – that is my job.
"Mr Ross is the last person to lecture anyone on such matters given is track record of attacking everything and anything if it gets a headline.”