THE Coalition Government was yesterday criticised again for failing to consider the security implications for the UK of Scotland becoming independent.

In March, Westminster's Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy expressed unhappiness at the UK Government's lack of "horizon-scanning" in relation not only to the possibility of Scottish independence within the next three years but also to the prospect of a collapse of the eurozone.

Labour's Lord Foulkes, who sits on the committee, said at the time he was "astonished" by the lack of the Coalition's contingency planning, particularly as Scotland was home to Britain's nuclear deterrent.

The Government said the criticism was "not well-founded" as there was considerable discussion about Scottish issues at the highest level of Government and that the Coalition had expressed its commitment to keeping the UK together.

Yesterday, in response to the Government's comments, the committee repeated its rebuke, noting how the Coalition was focused on its opposition to Scottish independence, "reinforcing our belief that the possibility independence might actually happen is being neglected in strategic planning".

Sir Malcolm Bruce, another of the committee's members, said: "Given we have a date, a provisional date at least, for that referendum, the committee collectively was surprised."

The LibDem MP also highlighted the SNP's desire to remove as quickly as possible the Trident nuclear deterrent from Scottish waters as well as the future of military bases and how the newly-independent nation would co-operate on defence and counter-terrorism.