SUNDERLAND will be the new home of Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet if Scotland breaks away from the UK later this year.
The Scots will go to the polls in September to vote on whether to end the 1706 Treaty of Union, which created the United Kingdom and saw King James VI of Scotland also become King James I of England.
Under the terms of the vote, Scotland will inherit the barracks, air bases and naval bases on its territory, including Faslane, where the UK submarine fleet is based.
However, the British Government will retain control of the submarines themselves, which will be left homeless.
Now, the Royal Navy has confirmed the vessels will have a new home on Wearside – and they could be here as early as September 19, the day after the vote.
“Obviously, we can’t allow our nuclear submarines to fall into the hands of what would, effectively, be a foreign power,” said Rear Admiral Hugh De Fink-Higham. “But Uranium is, like, really expensive, so we don’t want to use it all up sending them to Portsmouth.
“On ballot day, all subs will be at sea, ready to sail where required.
“In the event of a ‘yes’ vote, all Scottish sailors will be marooned in a dinghy off Berwick.”
Creating a new home for the four submarines will take several years, and in the meantime, they will be tied up at the marina, in the care of Sunderland Marine Activities Centre.
Defence spending cuts have forced navy bosses to come up with an innovative deal to pay for the space. “We will have use of one submarine each weekend until the new Port of Sunderland facilities are ready in 2023,” said the centre’s Mia Nayams-Fayk.
“We’ve had to buy an extra padlock for the Trident launch controls and promise not to toss the fuel rods overboard until we reach Hartlepool.”
Order 01/04-14, confirming the deal, is due to come into effect today.