Safe in Whose Hands.
Theresa May and Michael Fallon have recently accused Jeremy Corbyn in particular and The Labour Party in general of being a security risk and that they would not defend the UK’s interests.
This of course is the Tory party’s well adopted mantra when attempting to denigrate the Labour Party.
The Tory Party like to portray themselves as being the only party capable preserving the UK’s status as a serious military power. Let us examine the truth of that assertion.
Since the Tories took office in May 2010 with the assistance of the Liberal-Democrats their record as defenders of the realm does not stand up to scrutiny or make pleasant reading.
Between 1st April 2010 and 1st December the front line troops in the UK were reduced from 195,490 to 146,720, a reduction of 48,770, just under a quarter (24.948%) by the Tory government along with the Liberal Party who were in coalition with the Tories from 2010 until 2015.
On 1st April 2010 the total full time strength of The Royal Navy, The Army and The Royal Air Force was 195,490.
Army 117,810 including 3,840 Gurkhas.
Royal Navy 38,730.
Royal Air Force 44,500.
Source: UK Armed Services Quarterly Manning Report.
On 1st December 2016 the total strength of The Royal Navy, The Army, and The Royal Air Force was 146,720.
Army 86,550 including 2,780 Gurkhas.
Royal Navy 29,450.
Royal Air Force 30,870.
Source: UK Armed Forces Monthly Service Personnel Statistics
1 December 2016
In 2011 the Tory/Liberal-Democrat coalition approved the sale of the entire Harrier fleet of 72 aircraft and parts to the USA (Marine Corps) for the sum total of $180million. The replacement aircraft for the Harrier fleet is meant to be the Lockheed Martin F35 which the UK government has committed to buying 138 aircraft at an estimated cost in 2014 of £2.5 billion. Since then the cost has increased partly due to the fall in the value of sterling and partly due to increased production costs. The UK government has so far refused to confirm the total cost of the purchase of the F35’s suffice to say that the Tory policy of selling an entire fleet of Harriers in 2011 for virtually peanuts to be replaced by an as yet unproven and according to some critics inferior aircraft for an estimated price tag of £2.5 billion which no will no doubt rise, verges on economic idiocy from a party which describes itself as strong on the economy.
Sources: BBC News, Guardian, Financial Times.
Since 2010, the UK Government has scrapped HMS Invincible in 2010, HMS Ark Royal in 2012 and HMS Illustrious in 2016. Their replacement Carriers will not be ready until the summer of 2017 when the first HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to begin sea trials which were originally set for March 2017 and the second carrier HMS Prince of Wales is not due to enter service until 2020.
Sources: Business Insider UK, BBC News.
In the intervening period the UK defences have been laid bare by the so called strong on defence Tory Party with no aircraft carriers and as a consequence of this short sighted policy no aircraft capable of landing on them either.
For the Tories to state that The Labour Party will run down UK defences is disingenuous at the very least when they have been responsible for a 25% reduction in our armed forces, sold the entire Harrier Fleet and scrapped our aircraft carrier fleet before replacements had been built. They should stop playing fast & loose with the truth.