Ex-Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon was referring to David Cameron’s previous coalition government and current all-Conservative government’s failure to ensure that 2% of the national income is spent on defence as outlined in the requirements for NATO membership. If present trends are set to continue then the UK’s defence expenditure is set to fall below the target level within the coming years despite David Cameron’s demands on other European countries to maintain their 2% commitments.
The Prime Minister has now an opportunity to do what he and the other major party leaders felt unable to do in this election campaign, namely to repair the damage done to our defence and security in recent years and to our reputation as a serious contributor to world security.
Graydon has strong support from within the Tory backbenchers who quite vocally concur with his opinion. Defence industry observers have warned that Britain already has serious deficits in its ability to maintain national security such as a significantly reduced surface vessel force, an increasingly ageing Trident missile submarine force and a total lack of a fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft following the absence of Nimrod. The situation is set to only worsen if further cuts to defence spending are followed through.