Labour MP, Dan Jarvis has reacted to the news that Defence Secretary Liam Fox plans to cut the Army by a further 10,000 soldiers.
On Monday 4th July, I asked the Defence Secretary whether he had plans to reduce the size of the army post 2015.
In his reply he stated, “Nothing has changed in our assumptions since the SDSR.” I now have significant concerns that this response was not accurate.
It is inconceivable that today’s announcement has come about in the last two weeks. If it has, then it is rushed thinking. More likely, is that the Defence Secretary has been planning this for some time.
I find it very difficult to understand why the government are choosing to do this today. Why not wait until 2015? Re-assess the world in 2015 and make the cuts if and when possible? This wasn’t in the government’s manifesto and no one voted for this.
How can the Defence Secretary be sure that Britain will not need to deploy ground troops in a country again within the next four years? In October, the government declared that they couldn’t foresee a combat operation in the short term that would need an aircraft carrier. Less than six months after the SDSR was completed, we were over the skies of Libya and are still there.
Today’s announcement is a deliberate, cynical and orchestrated plan, to use the phone hacking scandal to bury an extremely bad news story for the Prime Minster and Defence Secretary.”
Let us be under no illusion, today’s announcement represents a significant reduction in our capability. It undermines our ability to protect our country and uphold our place in the world. I know from my own firsthand experience that this will have a significant impact on the morale of our Armed Forces, currently serving in Afghanistan, Libya and in other Theatres around the world.
In this fast-changing and uncertain world, it is irresponsible for the government to dramatically reduce our defence and security capability at this moment. The announcement of additional resource to support the Reserve forces is, frankly, Defence on the cheap and compromises our ability to be a force for good in the world.