Former Royal Navy chief says 'insufficient' weapons stocks must be replenished '24/7'

THE former head of the Royal Navy has called on the government to replenish weapon stocks ‘almost on a 24/7 basis’, as he raises serious concerns about defence procurement.

By Richard Lemmer
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 2:18 pm
Lord West has called the UK's weapon stocks 'insufficient'.
Lord West has called the UK's weapon stocks 'insufficient'.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord West of Spithead argued that there is ‘no doubt” the country’s stock holdings will be ‘insufficient’ as it sends significant amounts of military aid to Ukraine.

His comments came as he grilled the government on whether it had negotiated contracts with defence firms to replace its outgoing stock.

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The Labour peer, who was First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy from 2002 to 2006, told the House of Lords: ‘The usage rates by Ukraine are high, because in peer-on-peer warfare that’s exactly what happens, we have experience of that ourselves looking back historically.

‘And I’m delighted that we are providing weapons for Ukraine and we must keep doing this, indeed we probably need to provide more, it is in our interest and everyone’s interest that that happens.

‘In terms of our stock holdings, again my experience tells me that our stock holdings will be insufficient, there is no doubt about it, they always have been because that’s the way you play games with money in the Ministry of Defence.’

Lord West asked defence minister Baroness Goldie whether any contracts had been let with British defence firms, noting that when he asked the same question on May 25, those contracts had not been let.

Baroness Goldie replied that she did not have specific information on contracts, but assured peers that stockpiles were ‘under constant review’.