The UK Government has been urged to reveal details of any contingency plans ministers might have for moving the Trident nuclear submarines if Scotland votes in favour of independence.
Ian Davidson, the chairman of Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee, made the plea after the Government said it was "not planning for Scottish independence or to move the strategic nuclear deterrent" from its base at Faslane.
The UK's Trident nuclear weapons are entirely based and serviced in Scotland, and the SNP has committed to their removal if the country votes "Yes" in the referendum next year. The UK Government insisted it "does not intend to conduct any review on the future of the UK nuclear deterrent".
In response to a report by the committee, it said: "The UK Government's position on the referendum on Scottish independence is clear - Scotland benefits from being part of the UK and the UK benefits from having Scotland within it.
"We are confident that the people of Scotland will choose to remain part of the UK and are not planning for Scottish independence or to move the strategic nuclear deterrent from Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde."
It also warned moving the submarines from HMNB Clyde would involve a "huge cost". The UK Government challenged the Scottish Government to explain how the "quality and quantity" of employment in the region would be reproduced if the submarines left the base.
It said the 6,700 military and civilian staff at HMNB Clyde was expected to increase to 8,200 by 2022, describing it as a "major source of employment for highly skilled workers and a significant contributor to the local economy".
Mr Davidson said in an interview he did not think the UK Government was "being entirely open" about its plans.
"I think that they quite clearly are making contingency plans, that's just simply prudent management," he said. "But they understandably do not wish to be drawn into dialogue too soon before the referendum. We don't agree with that. We want the UK Government and the Scottish Government both to be open as much as possible on this."
SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson branded the UK Government's response "another scare story from the anti-independence parties". He said: "Answers obtained from the Westminster Government either through parliamentary questions or freedom of information make quite clear that Plymouth actually has more capacity for the nuclear submarines than the Clyde - and that the jobs dependent on Trident are around 500 - not 8,000 as they have claimed today."