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Spending on Armed Forces "could be cut by Conservatives"

This morning's Times carries a report which I imagine will unnerve many ConHome readers:

"The Conservative leadership is backtracking on spending commitments for Britain’s Armed Forces and could yet shelve plans to replace Trident, The Times has learnt.

"In a taste of budget battles ahead if the Tories win the next election, the front-bench defence and Treasury teams are understood to have clashed over proposals that threaten to sour the party’s reputation for supporting the military.

"Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, pledged last year to protect the three most expensive equipment programmes: aircraft carriers, an armoured vehicle system known as FRES and Britain’s nuclear capability. He also indicated his desire to expand the Army by 10,000 soldiers.

"An aide to Dr Fox said this week that commitments “had been superseded” by plans for a Strategic Defence Review (SDR) after the election. George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, also warned that a Conservative government would have to make “some difficult decisions” on military procurement."

Read the full report here, in which a spokesman goes on to describe as "nonsense" the suggestion that there is tension between the Treasury and Defence teams.

> Yesterday, Liam Fox wrote exclusively for ConservativeHome, explaining that Afghanistan would be a Conservative Government's top military priority.

Jonathan Isaby

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