UKIP Defence Spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP, has said comments on the UK defence budget by the US Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter are “hugely concerning for the future of the ‘special relationship’” and has expressed “great anxiety” at news of yet more Tory defence cuts in the new parliament.
Defence Secretary Carter suggested that the United Kingdom could be hugely diminished as a global player; if the Tories persist with their current spending plans, which fail to meet the 2% of GDP on defence spending NATO spending commitment.
Mike Hookem MEP said, “Time and again before the election, UKIP warned that the Conservatives were going to make a further attack on defence spending if they won power. This was obvious from their sheer lack of commitment to meet the NATO spending target of 2% of GDP on defence.”
“The simple fact is that Britain’s armed forces are already starved of much needed resources and further cuts would seriously hamper the UK’s ability to respond to the constantly evolving world security situation. More cuts would also seriously harm the vital humanitarian work that Britain’s armed forces do around the globe.”
The Americans are obviously keeping a close eye on the situation, as Ashton Carter’s intervention is unprecedented. It proves that David Cameron’s lack of commitment to our defence is causing concern among our key allies and is damaging our ‘special relationship’ with the US.”
“If things continue like this, the UK will have an army in name only, and we will be forced to go cap in hand to the EU to meet our basic defence requirements. However, I suspect it was always the Tories intention to run our armed forces down in preparation for entering into the EU Army being pushed for by Germany and the EU President, Jean Claude Junker.”
Mr Carter’s comments come just a day after a high-profile Conservative MP, Julian Lewis, attacked David Cameron’s defence policy and admitted that his own party has left UK defences “enfeebled”.