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December 4, 2017

Beware Prime Minister, the Conservative Party will not tolerate further defence cuts

Henry Jackson Society

Those with long memories will recall the Prime Minister, during her campaign to become Tory leader in 2016, promising that “a Conservative government I lead will make a strong defence an important priority”.

Well, it depends what you mean by “a strong defence”. Leaks from high in the Armed Forces suggest that the Royal Marines might shortly have their numbers reduced by 1,000; that our only two amphibious ships might face early scrappage; and that we might sell 28 Wildcat helicopters.

Tory MPs are also disconcerted by a pamphlet from the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a think tank, arguing that promised rises in defence spending in future years would still not match the rising cost of armaments, with the defence budget already beset by poor procurement decisions and the fall in sterling’s value.

The pamphlet contended that there would still be insufficient capability to deal with Russia’s threat to Europe; to make any meaningful contribution to a conflict with North Korea; or to project British power in Asia and the Pacific regions, where we hope to forge key trading relationships.

Read more on The Sunday Telegraph