David Cameron has been given a sharp warning by MPs against any further cutbacks to Britain’s armed forces in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The Commons Defence Committee said the crisis in Ukraine underlined the continuing threat of state-on-state conflict – despite the ending of the Cold War. It warned Britain’s national security depended on its ability to maintain a “credible deterrent” against a range of threats, from cyber attack to a nuclear strike. Further reductions in the size of conventional forces could ultimately call into question the effectiveness of the Trident nuclear deterrent, it said.
The committee expressed concern about recent remarks by former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates that cuts to defence spending meant the UK could no longer be a “full partner” to the US. “If such concerns are being expressed about the degradation of the capabilities of the UK armed forces by our closest allies, these messages will not be lost on potential foes,” it said.