Ukip backs 2% defence spending target

Posted On: 
23rd March 2015

Ukip has become the first major party to commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence in the next parliament.

The eurosceptic party says it will fund £3bn extra on defence in each year by scrapping HS2, reducing central government funding to Scotland, and cutting aid spending.

Patrick O’Flynn, the party’s economics spokesman, said it was right for the UK to meet the Nato spending goal, because the alliance has “kept our freedom ever since the Second World War”.

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He also insisted Ukip, which has spoken out against intervening in conflicts before, would remain “sceptical” of entangling Britain in foreign conflicts.

Citing former US president Theodore Roosevelt’s proverb that those in charge of foreign policy should “speak softly and carry a big stick”, Mr O’Flynn said: “For the political class at the moment, it’s shout your mouth off and carry a matchstick.”

On the Today programme, he added: “We’ve had David Cameron lecturing other Nato members about the need to spend 2% of GDP on defence. To actually preside over a plan not to meet that himself, I think, is pretty dishonourable.

“And I do think – and Ukip voters and I think many British voters believe – that properly funded defence of the realm, supporting our magnificent armed services is a much better use of extra public funds than simply increasing the foreign aid giveaways.”

The Conservatives have been coming under increasing pressure to commit to the 2% target, with officials from the US administration, former senior armed forces personnel and several senior backbenchers all expressing concern.