The Liberal Democrats have announced a commitment to increase the number of regular soldiers in the British Army to over 100,000 if they win the upcoming general election.

In their manifesto, the Liberal Democrats criticised the Conservative government’s reduction of troop numbers and promised to reverse these cuts.

They articulated a broader vision for enhancing the UK’s military capabilities and ensuring national security. “Keeping our country secure should be the first priority of any government. We must always take defence seriously – and work with allies to protect all our freedoms,” the party stated.

The manifesto strongly condemned the Conservative government’s defence policies, labelling the reduction of troop numbers by 10,000 as “irresponsible.” The Lib Dems argued that the current administration’s failures in procurement and support for service personnel have left the Armed Forces ill-equipped and neglected. They also mentioned the need for proper housing and mental health support for service personnel and veterans, describing the lack of these provisions as “unforgivable.”

Highlighting international concerns, the manifesto pointed to the potential return of Donald Trump to power in the United States and his stance on NATO and Ukraine as a wake-up call for the UK and Europe.

The Liberal Democrats stressed the importance of the UK taking a leadership role in European security, working closely with democratic allies to support Ukraine and ensure regional stability.

In addition to increasing troop numbers, the Liberal Democrats outlined several key defence commitments, including:

  • Maintaining support for NATO and increasing defence spending to at least 2.5% of GDP.
  • Securing better conditions and support for service personnel and veterans.
  • Upholding the UK’s nuclear deterrent with four submarines providing continuous at-sea deterrence, while pursuing multilateral global disarmament.
  • Implementing stricter controls on arms exports to countries with poor human rights records.
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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Peter S
Peter S (@guest_825807)
1 day ago

Ha,ha,ha. And pay for this and their other promises with what? To echo George Orwell, “all politicians are useless, but some are more useless than others.”

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_825824)
1 day ago
Reply to  Peter S

So far they’ve talked about closing the capital gains loophole (People who earn a wage get taxed more than those who take the profit), but that probably won’t be enough.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_825876)
1 day ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Their only likihood of power is in a hung parliament. They haven’t a great record on achieving anything useful with that in the past so a pointless promise. Besides why will anyone be able to increase enthusiasm for joining the armed foces.

Larry
Larry (@guest_825828)
1 day ago
Reply to  Peter S

George Orwell was a very wise man.

Pete
Pete (@guest_825834)
1 day ago
Reply to  Peter S

At least they are saying the right thing. Should be encouraged and welcomed. Paying for it shouldn’t be any different to when defence was 3% of GDP. Prudent Procurement ploughing expenditure back into UK Inc would help.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_825885)
1 day ago
Reply to  Pete

If they were remotely serious I would agree. With so much apparent agreement among the major parties, it should be possible to take defence out of party politics, with funding guaranteed instead of being trimmed or deferred to meet some short term Treasury target.
But with government spending continuing to exceed income and promises of no increase in the main taxes, any increase for defence would have to be met by cuts elsewhere. NHS. education, welfare, foreign aid?

Pete
Pete (@guest_826106)
12 hours ago
Reply to  Peter S

In this world…start with foreign aid and reckasdify certain expenditures as foreign aid while sustaining / increasing capabilities. Heavy lift naval support craft can be 50% funded as foreign aid as part of emergency response contingency. 1 operational in Caribbean and 1 on standby in uk. Additional heavy lift aircraft and heavy lift helicopters on same basis. Also Corporation tax leaks billions in the UK. Perhaps lib dems will provide a balanced middle ground. Not too corporate friendly…not too social welfare crazy.

Ross
Ross (@guest_826091)
13 hours ago
Reply to  Pete

I do agree on the fact that’s it’s helpful they have stated an aim of 2.5% in defence spending, any consensus on an upwards trajectory is helpful. Notably to pressure Labour for a firmer commitment on that.

Sheffield Steve
Sheffield Steve (@guest_825810)
1 day ago

It does say something about the political times we are in, when the Liberal Democrats pitch themselves as the strongest on defence issues….

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_825823)
1 day ago

Lets face it – the Lib Dems can promise the world in Electioneering Soundbites and Manifesto Pledges but will never be in a position to implement them.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_825880)
1 day ago
Reply to  Paul T

True. Are they still advocating rejoining the EU. That whole process would fill everyone with joy.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825811)
1 day ago

😀 And the cost of training an extra 30 000 personnel? Sounds good. In reality, I’d see the UK becoming a EU only defence force, which is so loved by the Lib Dems, and niche and expeditionary capabilities In the RN, RAF, Intelligence community and SF all discarded to fund it. The very things that set this nation apart from many other medium sized powers. Now if they’d said return the Army to 80,000 and incresee the RN and RAF it would have more legs for me. But being EU and so continental Europe obsessed they were always going to… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Daniele Mandelli
Baz Melody
Baz Melody (@guest_825815)
1 day ago

Daniele,

Agree its just a throw away comment with no actual context. 30k troops requires feeding, housed, clothed and paid!!!! With no more transport aircraft or troop carrying ships how are we going to move them. If you increase one element then you need to increase the others.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825821)
1 day ago
Reply to  Baz Melody

Morning Baz. What also occured to me after posting that is the capacity of the Army Training Regiments, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, to train an extra 30,000 people, on top of the Op under way with UKR personnel. Yes as you say, barracks will be a problem. They are planning to close numerous smaller locations already and have already occupied several RAF Stations. OT, but on that note, I was shocked to see MoD Chicksands on the disposal list!! That is a big site, and the cynic in me sees pound signs as they sell it off for… Read more »

Ian
Ian (@guest_825833)
1 day ago

Probably not as ridiculous as would be the requirement for them to train a vast conscript army of unwilling draftees, which seems to be Sunak’s latest brilliant idea.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825839)
1 day ago
Reply to  Ian

I agree. That too is cobblers. Nice idea in theory but not with the army in its current state.

Baz Melody
Baz Melody (@guest_825844)
1 day ago

Agree, location is the commuter belt to London with direct train lines in from Hitchin and other stations. Very short sighted and while it will bring in a few pounds it will not be anything substantial what will make a difference to defence spending. I suspect it will be plugging financial gaps.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825846)
1 day ago
Reply to  Baz Melody

Agreed. My main concern was the costs in relocating the several units and organisations there and where to put them.
I see Garats Hay and Beaumanor is now surplus again and currently being used to process Afghan refugees. That at least has history with the Intelligence Corps and Royal Signals with the Y services.
Just idle speculation on my part as very curious what their plans are.

WSM
WSM (@guest_825878)
1 day ago

My money would be on RAF Digby near Sleaford as the relocation site- spent 3 tedious years there at the start of the 90’s – JSSU (Secret Squirrel)

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825891)
1 day ago
Reply to  WSM

Ah, Cuckoo Lane.
Maybe, or Wyton. It is all too many eggs in one basket if they co located at either for me.
Yes, I’m well aware what is in there. Indeed, CEMAG, 501, JSSO, JSSU (D) and all the niche smaller bits and pieces.

Would there be space for all the Chicksands units in the wider admin side of Digby? Not sure, looks small to me. As they’re not going into the Ops building that’s for sure.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825896)
1 day ago

Typo, 591.

Cthulhu Arose
Cthulhu Arose (@guest_825920)
1 day ago

Roughly 20% of the Digby airfield is currently fenced off in preparation for building works to begin. So they’re creating a hell of a lot of room for someone to move into. Whether or not it’s the Chicksands units, I don’t know

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825929)
1 day ago
Reply to  Cthulhu Arose

How interesting. I know the station has had a lot of spare space for many years since the antenna farm on the airfield seems to have gone with changing tech used on site but was not aware of potential building work. Thanks.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825933)
1 day ago

Just to add, what a disaster if the Intelligence Corps end up there. On many forums are complaints from serving that there is sweet FA locally if you cannot get yourself up to Lincoln. Sleaford does not really cut it.
I know Sleaford well BTW!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825847)
1 day ago
Reply to  Baz Melody

You’re clearly current or ex military Baz?

Baz Melody
Baz Melody (@guest_825856)
1 day ago

check your X account

Dern
Dern (@guest_825989)
1 day ago

Each ATR can process about ~550 recruits at a time, the British Army has 4 ATR’s plus two ITB’s that I assume have a similar capacity, plus AFC. So at full pelt with every staff member having no down time between courses that Army could theoretically train 3,300 new privates every 3 months, with some wastage for injuries and back squadding.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826000)
1 day ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks. No small undertaking. Some ATRs were closed I recall, Litchfield, Glencourse.
Suppose Bassingbourn could revert back to an ATR to help.
I also noticed the Army 6th Form College closed a few years ago, I’d missed that.
AFC….Army Foundation College Harrogate?

Expat
Expat (@guest_825822)
1 day ago

Yep unless those addtional troops have the kit and support to conduct combined maneuvres then what are the Lib Dems saying they will have 30k of cannon fodder? I voted to remain but that was on economic grounds, or more specifically the EU support for science and RnD etc. But I don’t support an UK being just EU focused when it comes to defence. I think politicians are over playing the Russian threat to justfiy a pro Europe defence posture. I don’t know the Lib Dem postion on AUKUS or Tempest but surely these would be at risk as they… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825827)
1 day ago
Reply to  Expat

Good points re both. I don’t know either.

Baz Melody
Baz Melody (@guest_825842)
1 day ago
Reply to  Expat

I don’t think the politicians are are over playing anything TBH. If they were serious then we would be looking at the Military properly, not just playing at it. I read and listen a lot and can read between the lines. By the time we get serious it will be too late. We need an agile Military who have the equipment and proper staffing levels to meet the needs of developing threats. We are too static and too reliant on what manufactures try to tell us what we need rather than asking Soldiers, Sailors and Aviators what they need. Don’t… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_825848)
1 day ago
Reply to  Expat

This idea that because the Lib Dems are pro European, their entire Defence policy would be only European is not something they have said or even hinted at. It may be something Tories or Labour have claimed because all the parties like to smear each other. Let’s not assume it’s actual Lib Dem policy.

Expat
Expat (@guest_825930)
1 day ago
Reply to  Jon

Fair point. For tge record I don’t support Tories or Labour either. Find the political class somewhat irritating

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_825850)
1 day ago

Hi Daniele, I have read the defence section of the Lib Dem manifesto and there is some good stuff in it, but not the stuff we need to see… No surprise there! There is plenty on Europe focus engagement stuff, some of it makes sense – Nordic / Baltic via the JEF, building on the Lancaster House Treaties, etc. but there is no strategic plan for the armed forces going forward. There is a good idea around procurement, linking it to a national industrial strategy which is sort of evolving anyway… I would have set the scene for a defence… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825853)
1 day ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Morning mate. I enjoyed that book! I too favour a RN first doctrine, then RAF, then army.
But I favour an expeditionary posture too and fear that reads too home defence, NATO, for me. Which is where I fear Labour will go.
I respect my army friends here have a different view re service priorities.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_825884)
1 day ago

Afternoon mate, Glad to enjoyed the book 😀 I would see the priority given to reinforcing the high north / JEF as benefiting the amphibious generally capability and I put that above the ‘heavies’. I see the commando force including the army units being able to deploy a well supported light brigade, plus ‘raiding’ capabilities that would range from occasional battalion, normally company sized units to small teams coming and going unseen – hopefully. This would all require a significant investment in maritime and air lift capabilities, but if it came to a NATO article 5 in Europe then most… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825892)
1 day ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

True mate, that does require expeditionary lifters from all three that could do either Europe, North or out of area.
Go ahead! I like your books.
There was allegedly a High North strategy from MoD but don’t recall whether it ever arrived, what it said, or whether the Army and Future Soldier even corresponded with it.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_825913)
1 day ago

Yeh, I vaguely remember talk of that. Might have got overtaken by events. I do remember us all talking about Russian incursions into Norway and the Norwegians getting very concerned and starting to talk about increasing defence spending. I also think that was the catalyst for the improving defence relationship between the UK and Norway. Ukraine has pushed the process forward, at least on the Norwegians side anyway.

Cheers CR

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_825914)
1 day ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

As for a book, one day mate, one day 🙂

Cheers CR

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_825937)
1 day ago

The solution to that would be to frame expeditionary movements in the context of preventing a threat to the Isles directly or indirectly. E.g. High North prevents Russian access to North Sea which is a direct threat to Britain. Attacks on trade routes and Indo-Pacific prevent the movement of trade on which Britain and the rest of the free world depend and so taking early action in those regions prevents e.g. food or materiel shortages which have large impacts on Britain itself. There is now a political consensus that we cannot be a global power like a mini-US but the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_825947)
1 day ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Indeed, it is very much necessary. The Grey zone needs attention as well.
We cannot just sit on our hands and think of home defence and European NATO only, and this is what I’m afraid of re Labour based on their previous rhetoric.

Ian
Ian (@guest_825832)
1 day ago

The Lib Dems can promise the moon on a stick with total impunity because they are never going to have to translate their proposals into reality.

Knight7572
Knight7572 (@guest_825836)
1 day ago

Frankly to get the Army back to over 100,000 is going to require a lot of investment and fixing the problems that have been causing people to leave in the 1st place

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_825840)
1 day ago

Believe it or not, the Liberal could gain significant influence in the next parliament due to the mass voter exist from the conservatives. If they stand by their promise to maintain a useful number of troops then I might have misread the Liberal party. As I’ve said before the World is at a cross roads and none of the parties can raid the defence budget at will anymore.

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_825841)
1 day ago
Reply to  maurice10

Yes, yes, Liberal’s or to be correct Liberal democrats.

Julian
Julian (@guest_825908)
1 day ago
Reply to  maurice10

I’m not convinced that the Lib Dems will have much influence in the next Parliament. With the usual caveat – the only poll that really counts is the election itself – if the current polls and extrapolated predictions do turn out to be at all accurate then Labour looks likely to have such a big majority that it isn’t going to need to listen to anyone else in Parliament and can go entirely its own way. If we end up back in Cameron/Clegg coalition territory then maybe but unless we do get to a hung Parliament result then I don’t… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_825861)
1 day ago

Nice dream but not going to happen, Hot air and vote chasing like all the others. Defence does not get votes even though it should.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_825894)
1 day ago
Reply to  Martin

Some are turning their attention to defence once again after a long time. With the threat from Russia/China/Iran/N Korea, the war in UKR. Interest & concern for the forces is rising, even amongst our useless politicians. May be not enough, but it is returning from the wilderness.

Martin
Martin (@guest_825927)
1 day ago
Reply to  Frank62

Its a good thing, as normally its the NHS and Benefits that get the head lines.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_825887)
1 day ago

All parties should be doing this. Hopefully they’ll be nudged so.

The sheer gall of Sunak citing “support for/spending record on our armed forces” as a reason to accept his apology for leaving the D day celebrations.
Having starved the forces of funds & reduced them to dangerously record lows, he’s hoping few are awareb of his record. Otherwise they’d realise he’s saying forgive me on the basis of stabbing the forces in the back!
May as well be Jack the Ripper asking for forgiveness on the basis of his love & support of women.

Sooty
Sooty (@guest_825928)
1 day ago

Oh how the world has changed! There was a time when the Lib Dems were almost embarrassed to talk about defence, now they seem to be in step with Labour and the Conservatives, even the 2.5% of GDP for defence. Nothing Earth shatteringly different, only a headline grabbing statement about 100000 troops. The RAF and RN seem to have been forgotten.

Dern
Dern (@guest_825982)
1 day ago

I’d love to see the Lib Dems show us a sample orbat of where the extra 30,000 troops would go. Sadly I don’t see that coming in an election manifesto 🙁

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826001)
1 day ago
Reply to  Dern

Lol can you imagine?! We’d rip it to shreds.

Dern
Dern (@guest_826240)
1 hour ago

Not even that, I’m just curious where they’d want to place those extra 30,000 troops.
Would we perhaps be looking at fleshing the army out into a 3 division structure (3 Heavy Brigades, 2 Medium, 2-3 Light?)
Or would we be going to a more BAOR/Home Forces structure?

I’m not saying I want details that I can tear into, but I’d like to know vaguely where that manpower would be allocated.

Last edited 1 hour ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826257)
21 minutes ago
Reply to  Dern

Assume it would be the army who would make that choice, having been given the funds to expand. I doubt anyone in the Lib Dems has ever even thought of such details.
I’d be happy with the 3rd CH3 Reg retained, heavier guns for 7 Bde, and some extra CS CSS across the areas you listed weeks ago, so 4 Bde gets some ability to actually deploy.
Small steps before expansions of that scale.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_826081)
15 hours ago

This is good as it’s hopefully helping the view that an increase in forces is required and is needed.

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_826112)
11 hours ago

Very pleased with the Lib Dems’ defence manifesto. Sir Ed has done a good job of moving them from their previous lukewarm stance on defence to a pretty full-on support for increased defence spending and numbers. It is good because it cements an embryonic consensus in Parliament for defence being given a higher priority. At the least, it is going to make it a lot harder for the next Government to continue reducing and underfunding the services. The 100,000 army is a long-term aim. What they want to see in the next Parliament, according to their last Conference, is the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826118)
10 hours ago
Reply to  Cripes

You are right mate.
There’s just all round scepticism of any thing politicians say, especially ones who won’t be in power to implement it.

Andrew
Andrew (@guest_826207)
3 hours ago

So the same 2.5% as the Tories but with 30,000 more troops. They will have to cut back on equipment and people elsewhere. A genuinely well equipped and manned armed forces will require a minimum of 3%.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_826259)
20 minutes ago
Reply to  Andrew

Of course, which is no doubt their idea as we become a defence force within the EU.

Para-Commando
Para-Commando (@guest_826263)
2 minutes ago

In my opinion the only way to increase our regular armed forces numbers in land, sea and air and to maintain a professional military, is to make joining the military the only Tax Free job in the UK

I would also it make a requirement of the job for anyone standing for public office whether that being a Councillor, Civil Servant or MP to serve one weekend a month in uniform in the TA (for obvious reasons)