In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Colonel Richard Kemp, Advisory Board Member of Veterans for Britain, sets out what he believes the Conservative Party Manifesto should contain on Defence. The full article was published in The Daily Telegraph on 5 May 2017 and is available at Medium.com
The key points are:
- A £10-£20 billion funding gap exists in the UK’s Defence budget, having been run down by successive Governments.
- New threats, from Islamic State to a resurgent Russia, mean that the threat to the UK has not diminished, whilst new threats will surely continue to emerge.
- To respond to these threats, the UK must have a full spectrum of military capabilities, from the nuclear deterrent to surgical special forces, and demonstrate the will to use them.
- We should strengthen our commitment to NATO, and seek embolden it with new resources and commitment, so it again becomes a guarantor of peace and security.
- We must avoid becoming entangled in misguided EU Defence integration, as it will only divert resources and decision making autonomy from NATO.
- All parties must commit to the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent and continue the renewal of the Royal Navy’s hunter-killer submarine programme.
- The UK’s amphibious capabilities must be renewed, and the ability to deploy a 50,000 strong war-fighting division, as promised in the 2015 SDSR, must be maintained.
- Further plans to cut the Army below 82,000 must be stopped, and recent cuts should be reversed.
- Defence spending should rise from 2% to 3% GDP over the course of the next Parliament, similar to levels of the 1990’s when the threat was not as great.