James Forsyth

Retired top brass speak out against Brown and part-time Browne

Retired top brass speak out against Brown and part-time Browne
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The attack on Gordon Brown’s attitude to the armed forces launched last night in the House of Lords by five former chiefs of the defence staff was absolutely devastating. Lord Guthrie called him “the most unsympathetic Chancellor of the Exchequer, as far as defence was concerned,” Lord Boyce cut through the spin to point out that “the core defence programme has had no effective budget rise at all” and Lord Craig asked the key question:  “Is it not immoral to commit forces that are under-prepared and ill-equipped for their task?”

There was also understandable outrage about the fact that the Secretary of State for Defence is also the Secretary of State for Scotland. Des Browne went on the Today programme to try and rebut these criticisms but served up a deeply unconvincing performance. It still amazes me that at a time the military is engaged in two wars, Brown thought it sensible to burden the Secretary of State for Defence with a second job.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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