Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has refused to rule out cuts to the Royal Marines.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the Royal Marines were facing cuts, Fallon said:

“We’ve got 7,000 Royal Marines. The actual balance between the number of sailors and the number of marines, that’s a matter for the First Sea Lord to keep under review.

Within the Royal Navy, you have the Royal Marines as well and there has to be balance between the two.

If something is no longer needed, if it’s redundant, we need to make sure that we can put the savings back into new equipment. That applies to buildings, it also applies to the way we work and the efficiencies that we need. We’re a very large organisation and we need every year to be as efficient as possible and we are committed to meeting those efficiency savings.”

Asked about the numbers in the Times report, Fallon said:

“The defence budget is the fifth biggest in the world. It’s £35bn, £35bn a year.

Next week, the beginning of the financial year, it goes up to £36bn, it’ll be £40bn by the end of this parliament. But like any large organisation we, of course, continue to look for efficiencies and all the savings from efficiencies are put back into investment to the new ships, the new planes, the new armoured vehicles that we need.”

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So the Secretary for Defence is saying we should reduce our most effective fighting force – this just beggars belief really.

Its about time he got a grip of his own remit and started delivering capability and not excuses.

If we do this we will be a laughing stock.

Mark L

He didn’t say we should do that, though, did he? He said it’s up to the First Sea Lord.


You are quite right Mark, but it does sound as if he is supporting a cut. In my eyes we should be increasing the Marines not decreasing them – they are by far the best troops we have in my opinion. I just cant believe that the head of defence is saying there is a choice to be made between Marines or sailors. How many times were the marines deployed in the last 30 years and without those deployments would the army have been able to cope. I think Mr Fallon has just proved how incompetent he is with this… Read more »

Steven Jones

Yet the MOD can’t understand why they are struggling to meet the recruitment targets, SMH.


He cannot be serious?


Hopefully the Sea Lord will see sense


Fallon in denial as usual, deliberately avoiding the question and probably thinking that we can run the military as a part time entity.

Wake up man, and take a serious look at what you have done to the British Forces – the reductions that I have seen since my time in the military are truly depressing.


Weaseled out of that one.

Almost like Fallon and his mate Phil want to throw one of our “bargaining chips” in the bin.


Reminds me of SDSR 2010 (and what a disaster that was!) when there was talk of making cuts to the SAS and the U.K. Special Forces in general. What a completely idiotic idea that was – just like this!


Total disaster in the making, when will this bloody establishment get a grip on defence and understand, as most thinking people do, that a strong armed forces is essential for a modern and independent UK, our influence and position in the world is fragile and we need to project all the strength we can. Cutting defence imperials our security and weakens our bargaining power and ability to protect our national interest. Now more then ever we need to project strength not weakness.


Totally disgusted at the comments by the paper thin Defence Secretary – Deferring to the First Sea Lord! Cuts to the Marines at this critical time! reminds me of Knott pre=Falklands = no wonder Spain think they are in with a chance re Gibraltar Totally support crewing for long awaited new carriers etc. essential but not at the expense of an already stretched elite fighting force – to use the term redundant for these and by implication the rest of our forces shows the contempt this man holds for his department = think should move his desk into the Treasury… Read more »

Mr Bell

Reading between the lines here. I think Fallon is tacitly acknowledging that RN manpower is too low but instead of upping sailors and personnel numbers he is saying the RN needs to make cuts to the marines to give them the headcount they need to operate the fleet. big mistake, hope the first sea lord tells Fallon on record that he is not going to do that. The marines are without doubt one of the finest rapid reaction and elite fighting units in the world. An reduction of the marine strength would weaken forces trained to defend NATOs northern flank… Read more »


Mr Bell In fairness to the Marines they have been the mainstay of ground force actions since the falklands alongside the Paras. As the UK’s elite fighting forces these should be maintained and if possible increased. The logic of reducing your elite forces is just mind bogglingly stupid. I mean its not as if these guys are getting paid twice as much as a normal infantry unit. Word actually fail me on this one, it is just wrong on so many levels. We actually spend more on infrastructure and facilities than the army, which in itself tells a story that… Read more »


Whatever it takes to ensure that 20% of the defence budget continues to be spent on foreign aid.
That is the important thing.

Mr Bell

So we cannot afford to properly equip and man the RN or the army (RAF seems to be in an ok situation currently, not great but ok) Yet we can afford to have overpaid on foreign aid to the tune of £13 billion last year. What a ridiculous waste of money at a time our armed forces and many other public services really need that money. What a scandal, in generations gone by it would have led to governments falling and people being sent to prison. our armed forces sometime soon are going to be sent into action and many… Read more »