First Minister reacts positively to Highland MSP's call to support Troops Home for Xmas campaign
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The First Minister today clarified that Armed Services Personnel will be able to return home for Christmas and the Scottish Government will work with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to make sure this happens.
Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson pressed the First Minister on the issue after Edward Mountain MSP launched his campaign on Monday to bring troops home for Christmas.
The Highlands and Islands MP has been calling on the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government to create a Covid-19 testing plan to ensure armed services personnel can return home for Christmas.
During Question Time today, the First Minister said: “Obviously any arrangements for testing would be for the MOD to decide and we will work with the MOD. And if we can facilitate that, we will do so.”
The First Minister also rejected claims that soldiers based in Scotland were under different rules about going home for Christmas compared to soldiers based elsewhere in UK.
She confirmed that barracks are regarded as workplaces and, as such, nothing in the rules prevents troops from returning home.
Following the First Minister’s Questions, Edward Mountain MSP said: “This will bring Christmas cheer to forces families across Scotland. I am delighted that the First Minister has now confirmed that armed services personnel can go home for Christmas and reunite with their loved ones."
Mr Mountain served in the British Army from 1980 to 1992 in the Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry, following in the footsteps of his father before him.
After leaving the army in 1992, he continued to serve as a reservist for a further six years.
He continued: "This clarity was necessary. Let’s not forget that our servicemen and servicewomen have been on the frontline in the battle against the pandemic.
"They deserve nothing less than to spend time with their families and to have a much-needed break.”