Conservative Diary

« David Cameron appoints Lord Young to reintroduce common sense into the operation of health and safety laws | Main | "Unfair and unaffordable" public sector pensions are in the Government's sights »

Liam Fox lays the ground for defence cuts

Liam Fox 2010 Liam Fox gave his first major speech as Defence Secretary this morning at the Royal United Services Institute.

He set out the background for decisions about finding cuts in the defence budget, but insisted that defence had to come out "stronger", with the results of consultations on the Strategic Defence Review due to be published in a White Paper by the end of the year:

"Resources are tight for the country as a whole and defence is no exception. This review must be anchored in the art of the possible... We cannot insure against every imaginable risk and so we need to decide which risks we are willing to meet and which risks we are willing to take.”

“We face some difficult, delicate and politically-charged decisions. There are competing priorities, risks to manage and budgets to balance... We must act ruthlessly and without sentiment. It is inevitable that there will be the perception of winners and losers as we go through this process. But defence as a whole will, and must, come out in a stronger position.”

He also took the opportunity to emphasise that Afghanistan remained the MoD's "top priority" and that "our people in theatre will get the best support that is possible”:

"Counter-insurgency requires strategic patience and we are committed to seeing the mission through to resolution, creating a stable enough Afghanistan to allow the Afghan people to manage their own internal and external security.

“This is no time for us to lose our nerve and we must find the language to persuade the British people to stick with us. By the end of the year I expect that we will be able to show significant progress, consolidating Isaf’s control in central Helmand and accelerating the training of the Afghan national security forces.”

The above is based on extracts cited by The Times as the MoD is yet to release the full text of the speech. When it is available I will link to it. Here is the speech in full.

Jonathan Isaby


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.