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Weekly’s campaign on RAF base goes to No 10

A weekly newspaper’s campaign over the possible closure of an RAF base has been taken to Downing Street after collecting 31,000 signatures against the move.

The Northern Scot launched its ‘People’s Campaign’ in November in a bid to prevent the government closing RAF Lossiemouth, which is home to Tornado aircraft, under its defence cuts.

More than 31,000 people signed a petition to keep it open because of fears about the impact its closure would have on the local economy, after the RAF had already announced it was withdrawing from the neighbouring Kinloss base.

And 18 campaigners, including Northern Scot editor Mike Collins and deputy editor Chris Saunderson, made the 1,160 mile round trip in 36 hours to Downing Street to deliver the petition to Number Ten.

  • Northern Scot editor Mike Collins prepares to present the petitions at Downing Street.
  • Mike said: “It was a herculean effort, enduring two sleepless nights in a bus and having a busy day in London, but it was well worth it to be representing our readers and the people back in Moray, over one of the biggest crises facing our area in years.

    “When we launched the petition we promised readers that we would make their voice heard in Westminster, and we have done just that.

    “The response to the petition has been amazing, and since we have returned from London another 500 signatures have been handed in. These will be sent on to Mr Cameron.”

    In London, the campaign team spent much of the day at the Houses of Parliament lobbying MPs about the importance of the airbase and marched with banners to Downing Street led by a young piper.

    They departed from London at 7pm, arriving back at Elgin, where the paper is based, before 8am when the editor and his deputy headed straight to their office to produce stories on their trip.

    The two RAF bases have over 5,700 service and civilian personnel between them and are estimated to pump £160m into the local economy each year.

    A decision on the future of the base is expected to be made in the next few months under the government’s defence review.

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    • January 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

      Good for you guys, great to see a local newspaper really fighting for its community. I know the area very well and I wish you all the best in your campaign – fingers crossed for your success.

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