David Blackburn

Fox to the rescue

Fox to the rescue
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The best form of defence is attack. Liam Fox distracted conference from the various rows that have afflcited it by castigating Labour’s abysmal record on defence. He was helped enormously by the terrorist outrage in Sanaa, the Yemen – a cowardly atrocity that reinforces his observation that ‘the country's finances are wrecked and the world is more dangerous than at any other time in recent memory.’

He recited the refrain that cuts are regrettable but necessary, before adding that, thanks to Labour, Britain has to fight on with less. Serving the interest on Labour’s debt costs the same as an extra four aircraft carriers, 10 destroyers, 50 C17 cargo planes and 300 Chinook helicopters, fund 13,000 extra soldiers and still have enough left over to revolutionise forces’ accommodation.

Fox reiterated that Labour’s malfeasance runs thicker than money. Its neglect of the military covenant was a national outrage – a betrayal of servicemen and their families who have abjured their right to safety so that we might be comfortable and free. Drawing on veteran reservist Andrew Murrison MP’s report, Fox introduced plans for a 24 helpline staffed by 30 highly trained nurses to assist those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Fox also pledged money to improve forces’ housing where he could. He was conscious that these were small initiatives and he wished had the money do more - no prizes for guessing who was to blame.     

Fox made another announcement that was nectar to the tongues of delegates. The government is committed, he said, to replacing the Trident missile system, as was suggested yesterday. It will be interesting to see if the Lib Dems have been fully consulted on this decision, it seems they were not consulted over the return to marriage tax break.