Former Army chief calls Royal Navy a ‘national embarrassment’

A FORMER Army chief has called for an increase in defence spending after branding the Royal Navy a ‘national embarrassment’.  

Independent crossbencher Lord Dannatt, who served as chief of the general staff from 2006-09, raised his criticism at question time in the House of Lords.

HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Shaun Roster

HMS Queen Elizabeth. Picture: Shaun Roster

Lord Dannatt said it was clear the Royal Navy and the fleet at its disposal was ‘far smaller than it has ever been in peacetime before.’

He said: ‘This is a national embarrassment which our allies are picking up on.’

Lord Dannatt went on to add that the UK has ‘never spent as little as 2% of GDP on our defence’ and that there was a ‘rising case’ to raise the defence budget for all three services.

But defence minister Lord Howe said: ’I would humbly suggest we shouldn't get too distracted by percentages.

‘What we need to do is look at the threats and make sure we have the right capabilities to deal with them.

‘That work is on-going through the modernising defence programme.

‘We continue to have one of the largest defence budgets in the world and it is growing by £1 billion a year.’