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Wed, 15 July 2020

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MoD 'eyes Royals' to join Gavin Williamson fight for defence spending boost

MoD 'eyes Royals' to join Gavin Williamson fight for defence spending boost

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Gavin Williamson is set to step up his campaign for a defence budget boost as military grandees urge members of the Royal family to join the push, it has been reported.

A plan has been drawn up for serving and retired officers to lobby Prince Charles and Prince Harry to help get the Queen on board in a bid to sway the Prime Minister, according to the Sunday Times.

Defence Secretary Mr Williamson has been fighting Number 10 and the Treasury for a big cash boost to the UK military budget.

But he was said to have been left stunned at a private meeting with Mrs May when she questioned whether the UK should still be a top flight “tier one” military power.

The row escalated last week when Mr Williamson was said to have threatened to topple the PM, telling military chiefs: “I made her - I can break her.”

Top MoD sources told the Sunday Times the royal family could be influential in the debate despite their need to remain politically neutral at all times.

“The Prime Minister needs to recognise that our standing on the international stage is linked to our national identity, which is linked to our strong defence,” a senior source told the paper.

“The strategy has to be to get to people who have access to the PM. Ask yourself who has access and influence. Her husband is one, the Queen would be another.

“There needs to be a drumbeat of logical, determined, passionate, measured voices that are making the case.

“I think you can get to the royal family through Prince Charles and you get to Harry too, who has recent frontline experience. That for me would be the interesting one.”

Mr Williamson and General Sir Nick Carter  the chief of the defence staff - will meet Mrs May this week to demand an annual cash boost to the MoD of at least £2.5bn.