Political tussle sparksover delay fears for nation's defence review

DELAYS in the government's key defence and national security review are jeopardising Britain's safety, a city MP has said.

Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 6:00 am
Caroline Dinenage

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, has hit out over the delays in the defence review, which had been earmarked to be released late last year.

His claims have sparked a political spat between the Labour MP and Conservative MP Caroline Dinenage.

The review included looking into the ongoing implementation of the 2015 national security strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review, led by the cabinet office.

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Stephen Morgan

Mr Morgan has vowed to press the government to publish the review and end the uncertainty when parliament returns next week.

The Labour MP said: ‘At a time when there is such uncertainty around the world and we see the changing nature of the threats posed to the UK, the delay of this long overdue review is hugely concerning.

‘We know already that the Ministry of Defence is bracing itself for cuts, and yet more instability will cast a shadow of doubt over the strength of the UK’s defence capability.

‘It’s very disappointing that once again our armed forces are having to bear the burden of the Tories’ mismanagement of defence and its budget.’

Stephen Morgan

However, in a scathing response, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said the Tory-led government ‘did not need to take any lessons’ from Labour.

She said: ‘Labour left us with a £38bn black hole in the defence budget and would have mothballed one of our two aircraft carriers.

‘So we really don’t need to take any lessons from Labour and Stephen Morgan on defence.

‘Secondly, we need to make sure we get the review right and if that takes a little bit more time then that’s what will happen.

‘We will not rush it through for Stephen Morgan or Jeremy Corbyn.’

The national security capability review aims to examine policy and plans which support the implementation of the overall national security strategy set out in 2015.

Its aim is to address any gaps or deficiencies in the current review and to tackle new threats, making sure the UK’s defence strategy is up-to-date and able to tackle current national security threats.

Mr Morgan also criticised the lack of new cash in the defence budget revealed by the chancellor Philip Hammond in November.

He added he would fight for Portsmouth to make sure the city gets the best deal possible.

‘I will always stand up for our city and our armed forces, as the continued hollowing out of our Royal Navy could have a catastrophic effect and leave our armed forces personnel without the equipment they need,’ he said.

As previously reported, the MoD has made a number of cuts in staff since 2010’s defence review. These include 28,500 from its civilian workforce, which will be reduced by a further 30 per cent by 2020.