Judith calls on government to ‘categorically deny’ reports it plans to slash size of armed forces

Today in Parliament, Bradford South MP Judith Cummins questioned the Secretary of State for Defence on whether reports that the Government intends to dramatically reduce the size of the armed forces are true.

This followed media reports on Sunday that plans had been drawn up to reduce the size of the army.  

Speaking during Defence Questions, Judith Cummins MP said, “Can the Secretary of State categorically deny reports that Number 10 wishes to slash the size of the army from 74,000 to 55,000 personnel?

“And, if not, will he at least confirm to this House that he personally opposes any plan to reduce the size of the armed forces?”

In response, the Secretary of State refused to address the specific numbers in Mrs Cummins’ question.

Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace MP, said, “Well I can confirm there is no plan to slash the size of the armed forces. The reports in the Sunday Times was a complete erroneous report, which was made clear to the journalist at the time. What is the case is that our armed forces should always be defined by both the threat we face as a nation, the capabilities we have and Britain’s global ambition and that is why, in the Integrated Review, we will deal those processes rather than start the debate about numbers.”

Speaking after the debate, Judith Cummins MP commented: “Over the last ten years the Conservatives have presided over a reduction of 40,000 full-time troops. Reports that the Government may dramatically reduce the number of armed forces personnel are extremely worrying, as are reports that this is being driven by unelected Downing Street advisors. The Secretary of State’s answer failed to address the specific numbers of troops I referred to. Our national security must always come first and I will continue to press the Government for full transparency on this matter.”

UK Labour Party