UK Politics

Conservative Party: Brown still in denial over defence black hole

News   •   Feb 05, 2010 09:19 GMT

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox has responded to the publication of the Government's defence Green Paper.

"Bob Ainsworth deserves genuine praise for his attempts to find a cross party consensus. This Green Paper indicates that the MoD is coming out of denial but the Prime Minister is not", he said.

Fox criticised Gordon Brown for "undermining a Secretary of State on the front page of the Times", contrasting the Defence Secretary's defence cut backs in December with the Prime Minister's announcement of defence increases this week.

He also criticised the Prime Minister's office for "briefing that any project that has job implications for the Prime Minister’s constituency will be spared".

Fox said he agreed that France and the United States are likely to be our main strategic partners, but added that there were two tests: "Do they invest in defence? And do they fight?  Too few European allies pass both these tests."

And he called on the Government to "give honest answers about the implications of the cost overruns in the years ahead", given that - unlike the Opposition and the House of Commons - it has access to all the costs of the contracts and penalty clauses for the major programmes.

Later on, Fox called on Gordon Brown to apologise for misleading the House of Commons. At Prime Minister’s Questions he repeatedly made the allegation that the Conservatives pledged to cut defence spending at the 2005 election, when the manifesto was committed to a £2.7bn increase in frontline spending.