Slashed Tory defence spending and falling troop numbers slammed by Paddy Ashdown and UK military chiefs

Replying to the Conservatives’ puny response on cuts to UK defence spending, which is the portfolio of ministerial responsibility for Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon, former Lib Dem leader and ex-Royal Marine Paddy Ashdown said:

“This Conservative government has slashed funding on defence, cut our Royal Marines and left our troops on the front line without basic equipment.

“Billions has been spent on big ticket items that we may not even have enough troops to use.  Of course adequate spending on defence is welcome and necessary, but this is a piece of last-minute chicanery to cover up the Conservative’s dismal record.

“No wonder Britain’s top generals have accused the Tories of trying to deceive the public over defence cuts. It shows why Britain needs a strong opposition to hold the Conservatives to account.”

Senior military figures have written a joint letter to the Sun claiming that “boasts of spending 2% of GDP on defence are widely criticised as a deception.”

Army numbers have fallen to just 78,000 – the lowest since the Napoleonic Wars, putting Fallon on the defensive on the Andrew Matt show. He was also questioned on the Iraq invasion, use of first strike for nuclear weapons, and his links with President Assad in Syria (link).

In marked contrast, the Lib Dems have called for a Careers for Heroes policy under which any soldier who has served for over 12 years would be eligible for free university tuition, in order to boost retention and recruitment numbers.

Published and Promoted by Alastair MacPherson, on behalf of Alan Bullion and Sevenoaks Lib Dems, all at 44 Well Road, Otford, Sevenoaks, Kent.

About Alan Bullion

Alan Bullion is Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman for Sevenoaks and Swanley
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