Defence review likely to be suspended after Gavin Williamson hits out at cuts
A spending review into national security and defence is likely to be part suspended after the Defence Secretary argued future cuts had the potential to further impact the UK’s dwindling troop numbers.
The review is now expected to be announced into security funding, with the inquiry into defence spending pushed back, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Gavin Williamson and a group of backbench MPs had hit out the spending review, which had the potential to force further cuts in British troop numbers.
No final decision has yet been taken on the proposal to divide the review, but it was discussed at a meeting shortly before Christmas that was attended by Theresa May and other senior ministers.
Mr Williamson is believed to have convinced the Prime Minister more time is needed to get to grips with the UK’s defence budget before further austerity measures are put in place.
The Government also faces difficulty in reducing numbers in the armed forces if it wants to continue to stick to NATO requirements.
In order to meet NATO commitments the Government needs to spend 2% of national income on defence.
It has also committed to increasing spending on defence by 0.5% over inflation after 2021.
However the Ministry of Defence still faces a £20-30 billion shortfall in its budget over the next decade to meet its commitments to build new warships, aircraft, submarines and vehicles.
Speaking as he visited Iraq for the first time, Williamson said the nature of defence was changing and Britain would need to keep up.
"The dangers we face are changing and are intensifying rapidly. Eliminating the threat from terrorism is critical to our security at home and abroad," he said.
"Our brave Armed Forces are working tirelessly, day and night, to defeat Daesh [Islamic State] after helping to recover significant territory in Iraq.
"Only by defeating this evil and barbaric group for good will we reduce the deadly threat they pose to us, which is why we won't stop until their global network is destroyed."