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The Devil is in the detail of Cameron’s ‘jam tomorrow’ promises


Published Nov 23, 2015

MH_Navy.jpgUKIP Defence Spokesman Mike Hookem MEP has said today's announcement "includes many welcome measures" but warned that, "The devil is in the details".

Speaking just after the announcement of the SDSR 2015 in Parliament, Mr Hookem said, "Mr Cameron can make statements about a military with more ships, more aircraft and new equipment, but following the 2010 review the UK's military has been at its smallest since the mid 19th century and our country has been left weakened.”

"His headline policy of two 5000 strong 'strike brigades' does not mean extra soldiers, it means reallocating already overstretched troops to new duties, rather than building our forces capabilities through a commitment to expanding personnel numbers.”

“This is all too typical of the type of smoke and mirrors defence policy we have come to expect from the Conservatives. In the summer they tried to fox voters with their creative accounting, slipping spending on security services into the defence budget to meet NATO's two per cent spending obligations.

 "And news has reached me that in the very week of the Paris atrocities, that front line infantry units have been told to cut their budgets by 25 per cent, meaning cancelled training and battalions being left on a shoestring budget for the next five months of the financial year."

Mr Hookem also warned of the need for a coherent long-term defence strategy, saying that even though the Prime Minister had come out with "strong words for tackling ISIS," it doesn't help the country with the immediate security problems we face.”

"The measures that Mr Cameron announced today will not help this country deal with the immediate aftermath of Islamic State catching western leaders with their trousers down," he said.

"If these plans become a reality they are welcome but they do nothing in the short term to counter the consequences of the 2010 SDSR and what can be justifiably described as the worst thing to happen to the British military since Dunkirk.”

"New maritime patrol aircraft are very welcome move," he added. "However we believe that a short term solution is required, as the threat is now. This could take the form of using second hand P3s to counter the immediate threat the UK faces by Russian submarines, a situation we are in due to Labour’s mismanagement of the Nimrod programme which made it an easy target for the coalition’s SDSR in 2010.

"Expanded lifespan of Tornado GR4s is also a desperate policy given the aircraft are old, out of date airframes. I also have grave concerns about the Eurofighter Typhoon been forced into a ground attack role which it was never designed for, but which the Conservatives now want to give it."

The former soldier was also scathing about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying that his attitude when responding to the Prime Minister "shows how little support he gives to the British Armed Forces."

"It must be a huge embarrassment to Labour supporters that their leader responds to one of the most important statements on defence in this parliament by talking about policing," he said.

"It shows even more that patriotic old Labour voters have no place in Corbyn's hyper left wing Labour party.

"Instead of questioning the Prime Minister on the 10,000 troops who will be made available to the police force to counter Paris-style attacks by terrorists, he chose to talk about climate change.

"I should have thought as a representative of the working man, Mr Corbyn would want to make sure that the military are not overstretched."

"What we have seen from Mr Corbyn's attitude is a demonstration of why cross party support in defence of the realm is so important - because right now it does not exist.

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