Paddy Ashdown says defence spend warning is simply a 'diversion'

Defence chiefs are claiming Britain must increase military spending to stave off any threat from Russia

Defence chiefs are claiming Britain must spend more on defence

Monday, January 22, 2018

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown has slammed defence chiefs for demanding investment, saying this is simply a diversion to remove the focus from past mistakes.

The head of the British armed forces, General Sir Nick Carter, is warning that Britain requires major investment in defence or we will be unable to handle any threat from Russia. The speech has been backed by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. 

Ashdown, who served in the marines before launching his political career, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that if he was still working in the military he would sound the klaxon for a "diversion alert".

Britain's biggest current problem, Ashdown said, was that we "spent so much on two huge aircraft carriers that we did not need," adding that we didn't have enough aircraft to house on these vast storage ships, so we had to buy them from America at eye-watering expense.

Ashdown also slammed the defence review carried out by the Coalition government, saying he warned then-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg about its folly.

The greatest threat we know face comes from cyber-security, Ashdown said, as this is now "the vital ground of battle," and the most likely threatre of large-scale conflict is the Pacific Basin.

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