THERESA May sparked horror across the forces when she refused to confirm Britain will remain a top-tier nation for defence. It emerged that the PM has clashed with her Defence Secretary by questioning the need for the UK to continue to be a ‘Tier One’ power. The term means having a full spectrum of capabilities, from nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers to submarines and special forces.
The PM refused to repeat the all-important Tier One term. Instead, she would only say: “The reports that you have read are not correct. We will continue to be a leading defence nation. The United Kingdom is a leading member of the NATO alliance. We are the second biggest defence budget in NATO. We are the biggest defence budget in Europe.”
Mrs May also insisted Britain will “continue to spend 2% of our GDP on defence” – the standing NATO cash target – while MPs have implored here to hike the MoD’s money to 3%. The Premier’s evasion rang immediate alarm bells among furious Tory MPs and only intensified fears of a bitter new round of defence cuts.