ROSYTH’S doomed naval base, HMS Caledonia, could be saved from the axe according to Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman.

A decision to close the base was made last November, however, the MP said there were now “moves afoot” to ensure it is retained.

Mr Chapman, who is the SNP’s Defence Procurement spokesperson, is hopeful MoD officials will come to the decision that the base is of too much strategical importance to the Royal Navy.

However, the MoD refused to confirm or deny such a reverse and said the position would be clarified later in the year. A spokesperson said: “All sites announced under ‘A Better Defence Estate’ are subject to further assessment studies and an update on estate optimisation is due to be given to Parliament in Autumn 2017.”

In November, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that the last Royal Navy presence in Rosyth would be gone by 2022.

The closure, which would coincide with the completion date of the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier, being built at Rosyth, was said to be part of a long-term strategy to deliver a more efficient, modern and capability-focused defence estate.

The decision would mean reserves at HMS Scotia and local cadet groups who currently use the base would need to be re-homed.

Back then, Mr Chapman branded the closure of the unit as a “historic mistake” and he said this week that he was now hopeful that the Navy had, “at long last”, realised their surface ship presence in Scotland was poor.

“My understanding is that there may be moves afoot to retain Caledonia as their Scottish surface ship outpost,” he said.

“Strategically, the seas around Scotland are very important. We dominate the North Atlantic and the new routes which might become more accessible to the north towards the Arctic.

“There is also the prospect of carrier refits for Rosyth and the long-awaited programme to remove the old submarines from the dockyard basin.”

Rosyth SNP Councillor Sam Steele praised former councillor Sharon Wilson for launching a campaign to save the base.

“Rosyth has had a naval presence for over 100 years. So it’s heartening to hear that, with pressure from our MP, there is a chance that Caley could be retained,” she added.

“It’s a hugely important part of our community.”