Labour’s defence spokesperson has called on the government to pursue a “post-9/11” style splurge on military spending, as part of an urgent overhaul of the UK’s defence and foreign policy in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
John Healey said the government’s “threat-led” strategy outlined in last year’s Integrated Review, focused too much on an “Indo-Pacific tilt” and failed to address security concerns such as a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan or an invasion of Ukraine. He called for the government to publish an urgent white paper by the end of June, adding that Labour would back any additional defence spending made by the Conservative government.
“‘Global Britain’ was the prime minister’s vanity plan, not a national strategy for Britain to be a force for good in the world. It took security and prosperity in Europe for granted,” Healey told the Guardian newspaper.
“Ministers must respond to new threats to UK and European security, just as Labour in government did after the 9/11 terror attacks with the largest sustained increase in defence spending for two decades.”
Healey failed to give a suggested figure for the government to increase its defence spending by, but military spending in the decade after 9/11 increased by more than £10 billion per annum in real terms.
Published last year, the Integrated Review included plans to increase the UK’s nuclear arsenal by over 40% and ramped up tensions towards both China and Russia.
CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: “Vast military spending over two decades resulted in defeat in Afghanistan, and intensified NATO military expansionism has made conflict with Russia more likely not less. More money for weapons and war will lead to more war not more security. Both government and opposition are on the wrong track – throwing good money after bad. They are planning for conflict and they should be planning for peace. We need a new security framework for Europe and beyond, and negotiation and cooperation must be at the heart of it.”