Lib Dem leader Ed Davey slams cuts to defence spending branding delays to Type 45 as 'unforgivable' during Portsmouth visit
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During a visit to Portsmouth International Port, Sir Ed Davey said it was ‘unforgivable’ that all six of the navy’s Type 45 destroyers have had engine problems, with repairs not expected to be completed until 2028.
He also raised concerns about plans to slash day-to-day defence spending by 1.4 per cent in real terms between 2021 and 2024.
Speaking to The News he said: ‘We’ve been calling for a reversal on some of the defence cuts made by the Conservatives for a little while now.
‘But now we’ve seen the horror of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine I just hope the government is going to wake up and reverse the cuts to the army – the 10,000 cuts to troop numbers – and also really get the investment in the Royal Navy going, which is critical for our country’s security and defence and has big implications for places like Portsmouth.
‘For example, the Type 45s are a critical part of the Royal Navy. They’re having some real problems with their engines. The government just aren’t getting on with repairing those ships and that really sends the wrong signal.
‘If we’re going to show Putin that we mean business we’ve got to really get behind the Royal Navy and get behind the repairs to the ships that are so crucial.’
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He added: ‘Portsmouth has always been key to the defence of our country, the Royal Navy has been key to the defence of the country and as we respond to the Ukraine outrage by Putin’s Russia clearly Portsmouth is going to play a big part in that.’
Portsmouth City Council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, agreed. He said: ‘There is no point in having ships built that can’t go out to sea. They need to be at sea, patrolling and making sure our trade is safe and ready to take action in times like this.’
One Type 45, HMS Diamond, recently underwent some ‘minor repairs’ before leaving Portsmouth on February 25 as part of the UK’s response to support Nato countries in eastern Europe.