Nia Griffith, the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, spoke today at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Whitehall.

In a 26 minute speech, she outlined the changes Labour would make to how defence is operated, as well as a more general look at the UK’s place in the world.

Threats

She began by outlining threats; further to General Mark Carleton-Smith’s speech at RUSI last week, she spoke of increased instability, and the wide range of threats that face the UK:

“We see rising tension and growing instability around the globe, and a range of threats to the security of our citizens here at home”

Indeed she categorised ‘Brexit’ as a national defence issue, arguing that it is “one of the biggest challenges to our global strategic role since the Second World War”.

She also made plain that in the increasingly unstable and hostile environment, a Labour government would have “no higher duty than the protection of our citizens and the maintenance of national security”.

United Nations

Perhaps surprisingly, Griffith spoke at greater length about the United Nations than she did about NATO. She pledged to treble the UK’s financial commitment to UN peacekeeping missions, bringing the total figure to £100m per year. Also made clear was that more UK attention would be devoted to the areas “the UN itself identifies as being key to effective peacekeeping”.

Griffith also argued passionately that the UK was well placed to lead on UN peacekeeping, given our “significant high-readiness capabilities”. She stated that our high-readiness is clearly shown in the Joint Rapid Reaction Force and the new Joint Expeditionary Force.

The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) is a pool of money (£1bn/yr) for tackling conflict and instability overseas. She committed to replacing the CSSF with “a more transparent, human rights-focussed fund”. It was unclear which government body would run this new fund, or how large the investment would be.

NATO and defence spending

She covered NATO, arguing that it “remains the cornerstone of our defence and our security, and the sole organisation for collective defence in Europe”. Despite this, she did not comment directly on defence spending. She highlighted the Defence Selected Committee’s call for for defence spending to rise to 3% of GDP, as well as Tobias Elwood’s call for 2.5%. Despite these references, she gave no indication as to the size of a Labour defence budget.

She did however condemn “short-sighted and painful cuts” to defence, arguing that capability should “not simply driven by the Treasury”.

Defence contracts

Other headline pledges included an end to “the practice of outsourcing MoD services to the private sector”. She argued that “often these private contracts simply fail on their own terms“. She concluded by highlighting the socioeconomic value of UK based defence contracts, stating that “the case for buying British is clear“.

The full speech can be found here. She concluded by taking questions from the audience, although these were conducted off the record.

60 COMMENTS

    • another corbyn appeasnik labour are as much to blame for the current state of the u.k forces as anyone

    • shut up comrade jeremy is a c**k but if we’re lucky he’ll go away and take that useless cretin abbot with him

  1. Nia is a decent person who is committed to the defence of the UK.

    But if Corbyn was PM she and our defence capability would be ditched.

    • (Chris J) Absolutely agree. She’s one of the few members of the shadow cabinet I’d have any confidence in.

      There is no doubt in my mind that the current Labour leadership are a threat to national security in and of themselves.

  2. If the U N lets us do this and Europe let’s us do that….. NO… sorry but she would be over ruled by the Corbyn Comrades within hours if God forbid they won an election. I doubt she would even keep her job

    • the U.N? NOW WE’RE INTO THE GOOD STUFF THE BIGGEST MOST INEFFECTIVE ORGANISATION ON THE PLANET. A BIGGER GRAVY TRAIN THAN THE E.U

  3. Plenty of decent patriotic Labour politicians and voters.

    Trouble is they don’t run the Labour.

    As St Jeremy says if he was to become PM then there would be a defence review where everything was on the table to discussion.

    That would mean huge cuts across the defence establishment. God help us.

    • maybe a merger of the faa with the r.a.f and the s.a.s withe s.b.s, at least that would stop the bickering over who gets to play with the F35’s, maybe even get rid of the R.A.F. would anyone notice?

      • Andy Reeves. What a silly comment. Take away the RAF and the RN will just argue with the Army, like it did before the RAF was created, about some supposed need to have anything more than rotary aircraft.
        In a world where the RN is not capable of defending surface vessels against hypersonic missiles and other anti ship missiles, perhaps it’s the RN that should be , got rid of.
        It would require less manpower, less stores, less fuel, and quicker by weeks to send RAF strike aircraft to a target than a slow moving, bloated and vulnerable carrier group. Besides, every amphibious landing in modern history (WW2, Falklands) has been a disaster in terms of the losses suffered, hence 16 Air Assault Brigade being the UK’s Rapid Reaction Force.
        Imagine how fewer losses would have been suffered in the Falklands if the Argentines hadn’t had weeks to bolster their forces and prepare for the slow moving vulnerable ships.

  4. Agree with all the comments, under JC defence will hammered and it will never recover. We’ll also loose what little lead we have left in the defence industry. Finally our US partnership will be severely damaged. Its irrelevant what shadow minsters say now once JC’s in power all bets are off.

    • u.s partnership?is that the one where the U.K is the poodle for the u.s, pushed aside and looked at as that ‘little island near europe that can’t afford anything?

  5. Very vague and no actual ideas or commitments to anything, rather gives the impression this isn’t a priority for her party.

  6. Seems to be a lot of experts who, with the exception of maybe Mike Saul (and that’s being overly generous) offer absolutely nothing to the debate, just cheap soundbites that sound and look a little pathetic.

    At least when I have a bit of a ding dong with Chris H about politics he has substance, he throws out statistics, polls, quotes and actual policy, these comments above are shoddy, thats the problem with political debate in this country, people read a headline in a tabloid and think they have a valid political opinion.

    Anyway I’ll be the grown up

    As a lifelong labour voter it does worry me slightly the thought of a Jeremy Corbyn run U.K. when it comes to defence, the only thing that really worries me though is if the country falls on hard times, JC would put defence at the top of any budget list to be cut, that’s not saying other parties have not done that before but I think with Jeremy Corbyn making the decision it would be a little easier for him than most.

    Certainly say goodbye to military interventions unless authorised by the UN. Not sure how I feel about that, I suppose that is the right way to do it but given the UN Security Council veto power it does make it a bit of a farce.

    Sometimes you have to step up when you see a wrong or an ally needs you, with or without UN authority, that’s something I disagree with him on the most part.

    Increased defence spending past 2%, highly unlikely, but is it any more likely than the conservatives doing it?

    Cutting defence spending below 2%, if he wants to almost guarantee a media backlash and opposition parties being given a big piece of ammunition to attack him with, and seeing how a commitment to spending 2% of gdp on defence was in his manifesto, going back on a promise like that with most of the media against you anyway would be political suicide, and damage one of his greatest strengths, his integrity.

    I genuinely believe labour would consistently spend 2% on gdp on defence, but I will be honest and say it certainly won’t go up under JC.

    Also to note is the interview he gave to forces network about defence, he commited to 2% of gdp on defence and talked about the the navy needing ‘more ships’ not a lot of detail tbh but it’s something.

    In the same interview he seems very clued up on, and I think this is the main thing he is interested in when talking about defence, is armed forces personnel accommodation and mental health after service, he rollled off the tongue everything they are not entitled to etc and said it was wrong, I do believe our armed forces would be better looked after under a labour government, at least that’s something he’s passionate about when it comes to defence and it is a big issue.

    It’s ok saying he would cut this capability and that capability but when he denounces the fact there are ex forces begging on the street nobody seems to take notice.

    Also a big issue is to consider how the people around him have influenced him, he and they knew security is one of his weak points so they have tried to make him look ‘better on it’ would they and him jeopardise that, and escalate an already sticking point by cutting defence, seems to me like that would be playing right into the conservatives and media’s hands and would be avoided at all costs.

    So my view is, there would be no, how did Mike Saul put it, ‘defence capability ditched’

    Same 2% of gdp on defence, massively different defence posture, no military interventions for at least 5 years and more money spent on service personnel accommodation and mental health, that’s my opinion anyway based on what I have seen and read over the last 3 years.

    • Here here. Too many on this site have fallen hook line and sinker for the crap in our press. Look who owns the papers, Tory supporting billionaires scared shitless about having to pay their fair share under a labour government.
      I do however wish we could get some firm commitments and policy from labour. I think you have hit the nail on the head ie no more involvement in dubious wars and more focus on quality of life for our servicemen.
      With a labour government I guarantee our industries would be better supported as well with more made in this country because they actually really want jobs for people and think long term unlike the complete wasters we have now.
      And it also makes me laugh how so many make out a man who desperately wants improvements to jobs, wealth and society to be someone so bad. Why does anyone want such an unequal society?? It’s killing everyone but the elite and yet you are somehow blind to the damage it’s doing to us.
      Labour will be a damn site better in every department than what we have now, they just won’t start wars on the whim of an American president. Corbin will support a strong defence but not unnecessary wars. Please justify why that makes him someone to fear? Please, try!

      • Yeah it’s weird, apparently Jeremy Corbyn is going to be the only leader in history to bypass parliament and magically wipe out our armed forces.

        Its strange what the media can do to people’s rational thinking.

        But yeah I’m the same regards labour policy and commitments, the 2% is always mentioned and I think that’s safe because he’s already on record saying it, and it was in the manifesto, this by Nia Griffith is good but lacking on anything really substantial about equipment and numbers though, she does say halfway through that something on defence equipment by labour will be revealed “in due course” let’s see what that is then.

        And yeah without a doubt everything would be built in the U.K. more or less, people forget how powerful the unions are within labour. No labour leader would survive ordering ships being built abroad that’s for sure.

        I would really like to see a proper paper revealed in detail about labour’s defence plans, numbers going forward, capability, how they would fund everything, they have already done policy with this but I want to see more, a proper commitment signed off by Jeremy Corbyn. Maybe that’s what Griffith was hinting at what was coming, look how big defence is in the news recently, it’s turning into a big policy player in politics so Labour would be wise to try get ahead. Let’s wait and see.

        • SS/TS,

          Labour will not issue a report on defence or anything else because their basic policy for all matters of government is throw money at it, throw money at it, throw… get the picture. What they will not do is cost anything, they just spend your money.
          I voted Labour in 1970 and watched Britain collapse under a mountain of debt but gave them the benefit of the doubt. Re elected in 1974 they did it again but this time managed to get inflation up to 29 per cent for good measure.
          Tony Blair seemed quite sensible in comparison but then along came Gordon who did his damndest to bankrupt us. The famous note from the treasury….. “there is no money left
          You both might want to remember that it was Labour Tony Blair who got us involved in Afghanistan and Iraq and Labour Gordon Brown who didn’t see fit to properly fund equipment programmes while our boys and girls were being killed and injured in pointless wars that we now can’t get out of.
          Will I ever vote Labor again?Not on a month of Sundays. I don’t trust them an inch.

          • “Labour will not issue a report on defence or anything else because their basic policy for all matters of government is throw money at it, throw money at it, throw… get the picture. What they will not do is cost anything, they just spend your money”

            “but then along came Gordon who did his damndest to bankrupt us”

            They’re comments from someone who clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    • “just cheap soundbites that sound and look a little pathetic.”

      Sorry Sole. But I’m rather insulted by that.

      I enjoy reading your posts and actually agree with much of what you say, especially your history comments.

      I’m not writing an essay for you justifying myself, just because almost everyone here can see JC and the people around them for what they are based on what himself and the people around him have said and done over the last few decades. I don’t need to spell anything out for you.

      This site is about opinions.

      I think you have rather rose tinted glasses.

      As for “sound and look a little pathetic” I feel one only need look at JC, Diane Abbot, his communist Shadow Chancellor encouraging rioting in the streets to overthrow the government to see, actually, people are actually scared shitless of them leading our beloved United Kingdom.

      So no I’m not “pathetic” thank you very much. I feel VERY strongly about this.

      • Daniele

        You said you don’t trust a member of Parliament who’s been elected by the British public since 2005, a school teacher who’s taught British kids most of her life as well as being a school inspector for ofsted, speaks half a dozen languages, a decent, honest MP who’s actually quite good at her job whichever office she holds.

        You flatly said you don’t trust her, and that you would rather trust Vladimir Putin, the head of a foreign state who, to say we don’t exactly have a cordial relationship with at the moment would be understatement of the century.

        If you think that’s a valid opinion to have then I don’t know what else to say.

        “I’m not writing an essay for you justifying myself, just because almost everyone here can see JC and the people around them for what they are based on what himself and the people around him have said and done over the last few decades. I don’t need to spell anything out for you.“

        And that’s your defence, Daniele for your information Nia Griffith was one of the first to resign in 2016 to try get rid of Jeremy Corbyn, she excepted a top job after he won the second leadership contest, she has threatened to resign over lots of different things and holds different views than the labour leader.

        So your comment wasn’t even based on fact, it was assumption, a wrong assumption.

        And I didn’t say people were pathetic, I said the comments, and I stand by what I said.

        • SS /TS The only problem with you saying I don’t now what I’m talking about is that everything I said is factually correct, in fact in the sixties and seventies it was even worse’ Don’t believe me though. Look up the facts and figures for the years I mention and then try to prove I’m wrong.
          In passing I spent 14 years in education so that presumably puts me into the same caring group as Nia Griffith who I actually like and respect for her work to improve opportunity and advancement performance levels whilst with Ofstead. I don’t think Daniele attacked her either did he?

          • “The only problem with you saying I don’t now what I’m talking about is that everything I said is factually correct”

            You said Gordon Brown did his best to bankrupt us, how is that in anyway factual correct?

            You said labour won’t cost anything, they costed their manifesto so how do you know for a fact that anything with defence won’t be costed?

            I don’t usually have to explain the difference between facts, assumption and opinion but deary me.

            The first one about Gordon Brown, you obviously have the Internet Geoffrey, so instead of making yourself look like you don’t know what you’re talking about, read and research what Gordon Brown did during the global financial Crisis, read about how Brown and Darlings plan was adopted and followed by the European Central Bank and the US Federal reserve.

            And your point about Labour spending, do you know if you used google and looked at the conservative vs labour financial record in history, did you know you would find Labour have always grown the economy more on average and paid off more of the national debt on average.

            Of course you know what you’re talking about Geoffrey don’t you so you would onviously be aware of all those real facts.

          • Thank you for your final non reply SS . Your obviously a dedicated Labour supporter. Most of them are in denial as well.

          • What do you mean a non reply, oh was a I supposed to “look up the years you mentioned and prove you are wrong” was that a serious request? Why on earth would I cherry pick some years in the 60’s and 70’s and then base that performance on how I would vote 50 years later. No Geoffrey that’s what an idiot would do.

            I am not in denial about anything, yes Labour have been in power during hard times and made big mistakes, it’s official and on record it’s hardly something I can deny is it?

            Your replies have gotten shorter and shorter to now just couple of sentences trying to shut this down with some sort of victory in your mind, when your replies are getting shorter to the point of retreat, you’ve lost.

            You have failed to prove any of your points, failed to reply to valid, on topic counter points, tried to pass off assumption and opinion as fact, then jumped in for someone else spending half your reply to defend yourself against something that was directed at someone else!

            So yeah we will just leave it at that I think.

          • this NOT A POLITICAL SITE, REMEMBER THAT YOU CHILDISH PAIR, TAKE YOUR ARGUMENTS BACK TO THE PLAYGROUND.

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head, yes 2% of GDP. But offensive capabilities cut to the absolute minimum. Most probably a carrier mothballed or sold. F35 order curtailed, possible refusals to service partner nations F35’s at UK facilities because they’re involve in a intervention that JC doesn’t believe in (so that’s all interventions). Halt of military sales to Saudi and others = typhoon line closes and UK cease to have the ability to manufacture fast jets (ironically Italy or Germany will pick up the orders). No more investment in strike weapons for the remaining fast jet fleet. Probably some hawk orders to keep the unions happy. More A400s to support peace keeping. More ships, yes, lightly armed no offensive capabilities and overpriced to keep the unions happy. More support ships for overseas peace keeping. Trident gone and the cost of decommissioning added to the defence budget. And finally an increase in the purchase of stationary to write strongly worded letters.

      Increase spending on accommodation probably a good thing as the lads will be spending a lot of time in the barracks. I don’t agree that ex service men should be left on the streets and should have support for mental health issues (but so should every UK citizen) but if your going to lump this into the defence budget then capabilities will be cut.

      So we’ll see 2% of toothless spending on defence and probably the biggest irreversible cuts in real capability in history. And if you listen to McDonnell ensuring that what labour does is irreversible (even if its a failure) is key.

      Ex labour voter signing off.

      • Trident isn’t going anywhere, renewing trident was in the labour manifesto, it was a free vote for backing trident, stop peddling fake news.

        • Just painting a snapshot of what might happen. I for one don’t believe that Trident is save under JC and JMcD. JC joined CND whilst at school then became one of its three vice-chairs. IF labour borrowing and other plans cause the economy to tank its a candidate to can…. the manifesto would become irrelevant…. Labour would claim needs must.

      • have any of you seen the squalid states of married quarters?service families being treated as second class citizens in their own country? last year the top 5 cil servants at the M.O.D took home £800,000.

  7. Wait….. isn’t she jumping the gun?

    Labour opened their defence policy review 2 yeas ago…. and it hasn’t reported yet.

  8. A Labour Government would trouble me greatly in general, as spending once again raced out of control like a teenager with a credit card!

    But, the Conservative record on defence has been absolutly horrendous guys! They have cut force levels beyond the pale and placed us in a really dangerous and truly vulnerable position.

    Would Labour be any worse … Probably, the base fact is there is no fat left to cut, so the only option re cuts would be to remove whole capabilities.

    I feel they would probably eliminate capabilities to divert cash to social projects…

    Just my opinion….

    • i was once a leader for the prison officers union, one day i had the chance to speak to the deputy P.M I ASKED WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH ALL THE CUTS? HE SAID ‘CUTS MEAN THERE’S NO ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY I SAID ‘ WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN YOU’VE CUT ALL THE BRANCHES OFF THE DEFENCE TREE? HE SAID THE TREE wILL FALL OVER… PRECISELY! DEAR mr. brown if you are reading this, i hope your milk has gone sour

  9. Labour has always ordered more ships than the conservatives. Keeps the unions happy.This is how it works I’m afraid, and the conservatives are no better. Fuck planning and strategy

    • Agreed, Labour gutted the Armed forced to pay for the never ending pointless wars in Iraqi and Afghanistan.

      Then the Tory led Coalition further put the boot in!

      What do we learn from this, all political parties are self serving, self interested entities, no votes in defence, so no real money for it, the poor state of our armed forces proves this point unfortunately.

  10. human rights focused? piss off love. the lads want to kick down doors and take names. give them that or they will keep on signing off.

  11. Worrying that I’m a defence speech she only mentions peacekeeping and human rights, neither of which are much to do with defence of the country.

  12. Very concerned about the proposed increase in peacekeeping duties, not something we should get involved in, best left to small countries like Ireland with poor equipment who can use it to give their army experience of overseas operations.

    Our armed forces should concentrate on warfighting not peace keeping.

    • Plus when being realistic and honest, people don’t join up to keep the peace in some far flung land, constrained by sometimes idiotic RoE. They join up to fire their weapon and get stuck in, mostly.

  13. Defence budget unsustainable according to articles in Guardian today including one by Lord Gen Nick Houghton, former Defence Chief.

    “We have slightly deluded the public that we have a defence programme which insiders know is unaffordable. We are to some extent living a lie. And we stand at a strategic crossroads and we’ve got to come off the fence one way or another. It might be the UK should cease to be a world military power.”

    • I can see this being partly true due to governments “committing” to future projects and numbers ala the T26 debacle and kicking the can down the road for future administrations to work out monetarily. What we need is a longer term view to production and procurement, driving down costs and increasing efficiencies not just within the MoD itself but suppliers and contractors. Too often do we settle because there’s only one option or bidder. I do think this latter point is in the infancy of being addressed but a lot more needs to be done.

    • As for the “world military power” as long as we have a blue water navy we will always be such by definition.

    • 😂

      Is this how desperate you’ve become TH? You’ve been rambling about cutting defence expenditure on here forever and now you know that the tide is shifting, all the talk is on an increase in defence spending, you’ve resorted to copy and pasting a single paragraph out of an article and certainly out of context.

      For everyone else the first three paragraphs of said article is this.

      “The UK is “living a lie” about its defence programme, which is unaffordable within current budgets, the former chief of defence staff has said, after a committee of MPs said Britain must raise spending in order to maintain its relationship with the US.

      Lord Gen Nick Houghton, who was chief of defence staff until 2016, said the government had to make a tough choice between losing its global standing as a leading defence nation or increasing spending on defence.

      His comments echoed the warning of the House of Commons defence committee, which published a report on Tuesday saying that without further investment UK forces would struggle to maintain “interoperability” with the US military, diminishing their usefulness as allies.“

      So suck it up TH, the defence budget is only going one way of it moves and that’s up 🙂

  14. Corbyn has said he will negotiate with the Argentinians! So what is there to Negotiate? Sovereignty I suppose.

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