A former Defence Secretary has warned that withdrawing the Albion class would ‘end British amphibious capability’.

Lord Hutton was speaking during a debate on British defence forces in the House of Lords where he said:

His comments come amid reports that the Royal Marines could be cut and amphibious assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, taken out of service.

“I am absolutely opposed to the United Kingdom acting unilaterally—for example, by announcing the end of our effective amphibious capability. I do not believe that the QE2 class carriers—they are brilliant ships and I am proud to see them serving in the Royal Navy—have the equivalent capability. Neither do the Bay class ships. They are incapable of supporting and mounting large-scale amphibious operations with the fighting vehicles that the Army now has.

Our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan led us, rightly, to conclude that they needed to be better protected: they needed to be stronger, heavier vehicles. We need “Bulwark” and “Albion” to retain that capability.

So we must tread pretty carefully. I am all in favour of the defence industry co-operating with government in the efficiency review: I think they should. I am certainly in favour of our thinking carefully about how we use the overseas aid and defence budgets together to secure greater security results.

But it is hard to avoid the obvious conclusion that we will need to spend more now to preserve UK effective capabilities. The painful lesson from history is that spending less on defence does not make us more secure; it does not make those threats go away, it just makes us less able to deal with them.”

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Mr Bell

Obviously!- if you withdraw and sell off your amphibious ships at rock bottom discount prices clearly we will loose our ability as a nation to conduct an amphibious assault- this would relegate the UK to a 2nd tier military power- something I would think we are close too now really. The government need to wake up!- if we cannot afford properly proportioned and resourced national defence forces and capabilities stop sending immediately £13 billion a year abroad as foreign aid. Close tax loops outlined in the paradise papers Put up taxes- I would happily pay 3-5p more in every £… Read more »

John Clark

What a sick joke this all is … 2015 SDSR “lessons learnt” replacing capabilities lost in the 2010 review, turning the TA into a properly deployable reserve, lots of good news, admittedly among the bad. No fat left to cut, well looks like the lean is going to, I have already contacted my MP and told them my thoughts on this ( I strongly suggest we all do) . If they do this, I will never vote Tory again. What a shambles of a political landscape we have, on one side a useless 1980’s style, left wing Michael Foot Labour… Read more »


Feel the same way too. Very depressing.


Defence is never a vote winner, most Brits haven’t a clue about the country’s defence forces, they just assume we have enough of everything. As long as the NHS and education are struggling to make budgets work, defence issues will never get the right exposure. Soft targets like the Albion Class, will not get the general public excited if they are struck off, they simply lack the political gravitas. Post-Brexit Britain defence is not currently on the government’s lists of major concerns going forward, if the Treasury wants to kill off programmes or in this case, warships, then there has… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Er, there is one but most people then abandoned it in 2015.


Just read an article in the Telegraph (not my paper!) that says the MOD has been refused more money by the Treasury in favour of additional spending on cyber threats.

Cuts are coming, its just a matter of where they fall. F35 numbers are an obvious choice as they would have a fairly large impact and I believe we would be fine with a number in the 90s if all the Typhoons are retained.

Beyond that I am starting to fear the worst for the army and RN.

Ben P

We could survive on a cut in F35 numbers, it would hurt our carrier strike capacity in the short term but we could live with it, and potentially order more in the future when our funds are less shaky. However cutting army manpower, scrapping our main amphibious capacity and slowing down modernization programs and vehicle orders would be a cut we would never recover from. It would be nearly as bad as the 2010 review, which the 2015 tried to correct and failed to do.

Daniele Mandelli

Lets just wait and see on that Telegraph article.

The article mounted an attack on the NSA saying he wants to screw over the MoD.
No idea where they would get their evidence for that.
Looking at his background he served with NATO in Afghanistan with F&CO and held other high ranking posts so I’d imagine he either is or has Spook all over him.

In which case budget for intelligence agencies protected or enhanced, quite right too.

Richard Cooper

Sometimes these ideas are run up the flagpole with the deliberate intention of causing uproar, thus protecting the asset. Some years ago there was a rumoured proposal to scrap the Davis escape system for submarines. It was countered by one submarines officer, then sailing a desk in Whitehall. He headed it off by writing out an order scrapping the system, and then taking it around all the political and civilian types asking them to sign the order. He explained how vitally important the Davis apparatus was to the morale of the submariners, and the effects it would have on recruitment.… Read more »

Ben P

Even if the big assets are protected. We can still expect the cuts to come from else ware, most likely under the skin where less visible such as decreased fleet numbers, less training ect. Which is already happening.

Rick O'shea

I very much hope you are right!


How about move the Bays and Argos under the Foreign aid Budget and have them deliver Humanitarian aid in their primary role and backup if required. This is entirely in keeping with what the foreign aid budget can spend money on and for me is a much better use of the money and if need be a better decision. I am starting to despise our political class – they are a bit like the family member who works ceaselessly for charity whilst ignoring their parents own needs…. Time to take care of the home front – the world can wait… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli


Welcome to the club!


I am fairly tolerant ….. or try to be

Daniele Mandelli

If there is a choice.

Remove amphibs, 12,000 army,

or reduce F35 and T26 orders, and maybe order some cheaper stuff to make up the balance.

I choose the later.

UK needs to keep what mass it has.

But as HMG always favour fat cat industry and big ticket programmes over forces numbers I’m not confident.


Its all about tax if the country needs all these things someone (us the public) has to pay for them. No Government to the best of my recollection has ever come out and said we think the country needs strong defence therefore it has to be paid for by you the public because we the Government don’t have money of our own. However no Government I recall has said this. They all claim that we can have everything without paying for it, the magic low tax economy. Would the public if told the truth pay extra, I don’t know. The… Read more »

barry white

I know im going to be hammered for saying this BUT
A warship takes about 3 years to build
An aircraft takes a fairly long time (i have no idea)
A soldier takes how long to train ?
Sorry but think what is easier to replace
I await your verbal abuse but whats easier in all honesty
And im from a family who father was in the army from 36/53 and a Dunkirk and D Day veteran let alone the desert


at this point for the military there should be 0 cuts.


there is nothing left to remove that does not seriously damage whichever arm’s ability to fight.

It’s insanity.


Of the 3 services the Army is the one which should bear the brunt of the cuts. Further reductions might force a more coherent structure and equipment plan which as you say could be built on later.

Rick O'shea

I agree, the army has not borne the burnt of cuts compared to the Navy due to the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan . Time to invest in a Royal Navy with global reach fit for the 21st century

Harry Bulpit

Not so much the time it takes to build (hell worse comes to worse we could bye a surplus one). Its about the time it takes to train and build up a force. Besides in this day and age if we need something we need it there and then.

Peter French

Once again the Party who claim to be the Party of defence, will neuter our capability, as with the Cancellation of Nimrod . the scrapping of our thro the deck Carriers and with it the Sea Harriers,reduction of the manpower in the Services , and so on . this lousy Government will betray the Nation. The spurious quoting of the Last and current defence Secs of our” ever increasing defence spend” takes the breath away. The current DS is a new boy who will do as he,s told by Hammond. And now the Government says there is no decision until… Read more »

Rick O'shea

I am not so sure these planned cuts are going to go ahead as was looking so likely a few weeks ago


Mark Sedwill, the diplomat conducting the review served in Afghanistan. One can only guess his opinion of the value of expensive military intervention in that part of the world. These cuts are a defining moment for Britain. We are finally having to come to terms with the end empire thinking aka by some as becoming a second rank military power. I see the Russians are saying this morning that a British mine sank the San Juan. Scurrilous lies but a sign that the ( cyber) hyenas are closing in on the carcass. Albion and Bulwark are emblematic of empire, of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli


Just to clarify. My suggestion on army numbers came with a condition, being that some if the loss is made up with increases elsewhere, say lose 1000 infantry but gain 1000 sailors.

Any cuts to the army cannot include combat service or combat service support, which has been cut time and again to preserve historic cap badges.

The only extra mass the army now has is in infantry battalions.


Ok, I understand.

Mr Bell

The MOD should just say no. Run up a budget deficit and state they will not allow any further cuts. There is nothing left to cut that will not impact massively on our ability to project power or conduct military operations. We can afford as a nation a decent armed forces…i mean if France can, we can. We all just need to accept there are choices to be made. 1) we all pay more income tax 3-5p more per pound 2) the government close tax loopholes as outlined in the paradise papers 3) we do not pay the Brexit divorce… Read more »

Harry Bulpit

We all know this was going to happen. Unlike you we didn’t want it to happen.

Mark L

A very similar story was in the on the Guardian website yesterday and in the Mail today….


If these continual cuts in the defence spending continue our armed forces will reach a point were our position in NATO will be less tenable and politically things such as our UN security council seat under threat as wells any influence we have with the United States and dialog with China and Russia as these countries only respect military strength.

Daniele Mandelli

Spot on. Makes you wonder if the political class wish to join TH is belittling their own nation.


I can’t believe what has been written here. 28 posts all getting very emotional and condemning everyone from the PM to No 10’s cat and all based on what exactly?
Supposition, Rumour and people adding 2 + 2 and making 6 1/2.

Can we please keep a sense of proportion and react to REAL news when it happens??

Rick O'shea

I agree, if we don’t cause a stink these cuts are virtually guaranteed

Matthew East

If your cutting back on your amphibious assets can us Aussies pinch some of the RM’s? Cheers.

Phil Chadwick

I sometimes think that the general public just do not realise how badly depleted our Royal Navy has become, and worse, the majority of the population probably couldn’t care less about it either. The Royal Navy’s strength is now at a point where in my opinion the service is literally no longer capable of adequately fulfilling the requirements of NATO. Now the Government plan to reduce by half, the Minehunter strength in the Gulf. Rumours of two more Type 23s being sold? America must be hopping mad at this abdication of responsibility and who can blame them?! This is hard… Read more »

Phil Chadwick

Correction! Make that NINE Nuclear Powered Hunter Killer Submarines paid off. Sorry for the error.