City MP speaks out over delay in defence review

The Ministry of Defence, the Treasury and other key departments have been undertaking a review of national security capabilities. The defence review was expected to report towards the end of last year, but is yet to do so.

The work included looking into the ongoing implementation of the 2015 national security strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review, led by the Cabinet Office.

City MP Stephen Morgan has today spoken of his concerns that the long awaited review remains unpublished, and has vowed to press the Government to publish the review, to end the uncertainty, when Parliament returns next week.

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

At a time when there is such uncertainty around the world and we see the changing nature of the threats posed to the UK, the delay of this long overdue review is hugely concerning.

We know already that the Ministry of Defence is bracing itself for cuts, and yet more instability will cast a shadow of doubt over the strength of the UK’s defence capability.

It’s very disappointing that once again our armed forces are having to bear the burden of the Tories’ mismanagement of defence and its budget”.

November’s budget contained no new money for defence, and at a hearing of the Defence Select Committee, the MoD’s Permanent Secretary said he knew of no representations from his department or by Ministers for much needed additional funding to the armed forces to the Treasury.

The Tories are doing the bare minimum on NATO spending, and questions have been raised by the Institute for International Strategic Studies about whether the commitment is being met. They have said that the UK is only spending only 1.98% based on the IMF calculation of GDP, and the Treasury figures showed the Government was only spending 1.9% of GDP in 2015/16.

Stephen added:

“As the home of the Royal Navy, our armed forces are not only part of Portsmouth’s DNA, but are vital to our great city’s economy.

The review must ensure we keep sovereign capability as a nation and a more comprehensive defence industrial strategy.

In Parliament I will continue to ask difficult questions to make sure we get the best possible outcome for Portsmouth from this latest review.

I will always stand up for our city and our armed forces, as the continued hollowing out of our Royal Navy could have a catastrophic effect and leave our armed forces personnel without the equipment they need”.