The prime minister was told there was a “broad consensus” among Tory backbenchers on the wisdom of such a move. John Baron, chairman of the 1922 Conservative Defense Committee, offered his candid analysis of the situation following the release of a report written after a “call for evidence” in March and April.
Conservative backbenchers were asked to make submissions on their defense priorities, which were then discussed by the committee.
Mr Baron, a former British Army captain and MP for Basildon and Billericay, said: ‘Across Tory backbenchers there is a broad consensus that the Russian invasion of the Ukraine requires an increase in defense spending alongside a broad reassessment of manpower and capabilities.”
“In particular, the report concludes that there should be a moratorium on defense cuts until this reassessment exercise is complete.”
He added: ‘The report has been submitted to the government and circulated among Tory MPs.’
“We look forward to conveying his findings directly to Policy Unit No 10 and the Prime Minister. He would be wise to consider his backbenchers.”
The report concludes: “The UK faces multiple threats highlighted by Russian aggression in Ukraine and China’s aggressive ‘Belt and Road’ programme.”
“Despite its positive aspects, IR is radically reducing the size and capability of the UK armed forces while the threat from undemocratic rogue states increases, alongside those posed by sub-threshold and hybrid warfare.”
It was therefore strongly recommended that the conclusions of the 2020 IR and the Defense Command Document be “re-examined”, and that the associated military reductions – both in manpower and capabilities – be immediately halted, with a threat-based post-Ukraine review undertaken, supported by increased defense spending in real terms.
The conclusion adds: “Diplomacy and soft power should always be the primary tools for achieving Britain’s desired results, and they also require increased resources.”
“However, a comprehensive and well-resourced military instrument can help strengthen these capabilities, while reducing the risk of armed conflict.”
“Recent events mean that defense will take on increased importance in the next general election unprecedented since the end of the Cold War.”
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“The best long-term security for Ukraine will come from its ability to defend itself. This means providing Ukraine with a clear path to NATO-standard equipment.”
His remarks came after Finland’s leaders announced their support for the country’s NATO membership, less than 24 hours after signing a new security pact with Britain.
The announcement follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Helsinki to sign a deal that would see the UK come to Finland’s aid, including military support, in the event of an attack on the country.
Mr Johnson told a press briefing in the Finnish capital on Wednesday that the security deal will see each country “always come to the aid of each other”.
He added: “What he’s saying is that if there’s a disaster, or if there’s an attack on one of us, then yes, we’ll come to each other’s aid, including including with military assistance.”