Ex-defence secretary Michael Fallon said the UK was on the verge of becoming a ‘bit-part world player’ due to defence funding concerns.
Fallon said in a speech to the Defence and Security Forum:
“If we’re happy to retreat from our vision of a confident, outward-looking Global Britain standing up for our people, our values, our allies, then we will drift downwards to being a bit-part world player, a part-time champion of democracy and freedom.
That would mean walking away from our international obligations, letting down our allies, and in the end leaving us less safe.
On the contrary, we should be doing more in the world: our troops, planes and ships should be seen on every continent, in every sky, on all seven seas. And that ambition needs a fully funded budget to match.
The deficit is coming down. We are increasing spending in other priority areas, like the NHS and schools. So let’s release an extra £1 billion to fire up the defence budget this year, and set 2.5% of GDP as our new target for the end of the parliament.
Radical ideas like pre-positioning warships in the eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf, and doing more training with allies closer to home, need following through. But in the end, defence needs a bigger budget because the threats are real and growing: they are at our borders, across our waters, on our streets and in our homes.”
Fallon also added that the threats to Britain have “intensified”, and that a security review “must recognise that”.