James Forsyth

Cameron reveals the scale of defence cuts

Cameron reveals the scale of defence cuts
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David Cameron delivered his statement on the Strategic Defence and Security Review with few rhetorical flourishes. He had two main messages: i) the mission in Afghanistan would be spared from the 8 percent cuts in this Parliament’s defence budget, and ii) the problems the review is trying to deal with stem from the fact that “the last government got it badly wrong.”

 

The appalling legacy that Labour has left the coalition on defence rather hamstrung Ed Miliband in his response. The most memorable line in it was a gag about how he had advance sight of the statement in ‘today’s papers, Monday’s papers, Sunday’s papers.’ Indeed, trickier for Cameron were the question from the Tory grandee Sir Peter Tapsell and the defence expert Julian Lewis who both accused him of putting political interest above the national interest in delaying the main-gate decision on Trident to keep the Lib Dems happy.