Fox reprimands commanders on Libya as MoD is overhauled

Liam Fox yesterday claimed that concerns about the Libyan mission expressed by "off message" military commanders were putting lives at risk.

The charge came as the Defence Secretary introduced a programme overhauling the Ministry of Defence, which is likely to see a number of senior officers lose their job. As part of the changes the heads of the three services will lose their positions in the MoD's most powerful decision-making body, the defence board, while Dr Fox will become the first government minister to take a place in the organisation. The chiefs of the Army, Navy and the RAF will be represented in future by Britain's head of the military, General Sir David Richards.

The proposed changes come in a report from the Defence Reform Unit (DFU), produced by a team led by Lord Levene, chairman of Lloyd's of London. It promised the slashing of "overly bureaucratic management structures" where ministers were "kept in the dark" and strategic decision-making was allowed to "drift".

But the continuing tensions between the Government and the military, which had led to David Cameron saying, "You do the fighting, I'll do the talking", surfaced as the Defence Secretary went on to criticise service chiefs for not being "on message".

He said: "We must be very careful, those of us who have authority in defence, when discussing the sustainability of a mission. People's lives are at stake and there can only be one message that goes out on Libya and that is we have the military capability, we have the political resolve, we have the legal authority and we have the political cohesion in the alliance to see through what we started. We may have to reprioritise bits of our assets but... we are going to continue until our mission succeeds and Col Gaddafi must get no other signal than that."

Dr Fox's comments came after 100 days of bombing of Libya by Nato which has, so far, cost the UK £260m and is due to rise to £500m with the UN mandate for military intervention due to be extended today for another three months. Muammar Gaddafi, meanwhile, controls only fractionally less of the country than he did before the air strikes began.

Dr Fox insisted senior officers were happy with the changes – describing it as a "harmonious process". Labour Defence spokesman, Jim Murphy, said last year's Strategic Security and Defence Review needed to be revisited to take into account the challenges posed by Libya and the "Arab Spring".

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam