Nicola Sturgeon will be urged to form a cross-party campaign to save a vital search-and-rescue base in Moray.
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart said the proposed closure of the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre (ARCC) at Kinloss would be a “cut too far”.
He plans to use first minister’s questions at Holyrood today to call for a joint campaign similar to that mounted against the closure of the Kinloss and Lossiemouth air bases four years ago.
“This needs an 11th hour concerted campaign to say to the MoD this is a source of excellence,” Mr Stewart said.
“It really is the eyes and ears of mountaineers and offshore workers. I see no rhyme or reason why this centre is being moved and I regret the loss of both military and civilian staff.”
Under plans revealed last week, the centre, which assists with emergency services’ responses to serious incidents, is to be transferred to Fareham, on England’s south coast, affecting 27 RAF and 10 civilian posts.
Since its was established at Kinloss in 1997 the team has helped about 2,000 people a year.
Mr Stewart said he gained first hand knowledge of the centre’s work during a scheme to give politicians experience of the role of the armed forces.
“This service and the staff employed at the centre have helped save thousands of lives, not only in Scotland but across the UK,” he said.
“I was involved with the RAF myself as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentarian Scheme and have strong ties with the RAF, locally when they were at Kinloss and more recently at RAF Lossiemouth.
“For the expertise at the ARCC based at Kinloss to now move to Fareham doesn’t make sense to me.
“This closure will affect 27 RAF posts and 10 civilian posts. Even if staff can be transferred, will they want to move”?
The UK Government insists there will be no compulsory redundancies of military personnel and staff will be assigned other duties across the UK.
Work is ongoing to clarify whether civilian posts can be transferred to Fareham. The government said it would consult trade unions and “fully support” staff throughout the process.
According to the government the relocation of the ARCC to the National Marine Operations Centre at Fareham will combine aeronautical and maritime co-ordination, “resulting in a better service for those in distress”.