Putin is 'in charge and he will fight back' warns Tobias Ellwood
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Rishi Sunak has been accused of “completely” underestimating the global threats facing the UK, as Britain embarks on “swathing” cuts to the army. Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood told Express.co.uk that the world has “moved into a dangerous era”, warning that the British army is “overstretched”. Mr Ellwood has urged Mr Sunak to commit to spending three percent of GDP on defence, one percent more than the UK currently spends.
When asked if the Government is underestimating the threats facing the UK, Mr Ellwood said: “Yes, completely. The army is overstretched. Our military is highly capable and highly trained but progressively we’re asking them to do ever more with ever less equipment and personnel.
“We need to see those swathing cuts which were outlined in the last defence review reversed. Cuts to our tanks, ships and planes, as well as our troop numbers.
He added: “Even aside from Ukraine, the world has moved into a dangerous era. If Britain is to play its role in standing up to these challenges, we need to be investing our firepower.”
Mr Ellwood warned that it is “national security which defends our prosperity”.
He called on Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to “correct” the issue.
Last week, Mr Wallace suggested that the British army is only big enough to “tootle around at home”.
Speaking to the Telegraph, he warned that the UK is “deeply vulnerable” in some parts of its defences, promising more investment in anti-air capabilities.
But he added: “If we just want to stay at home and do a bit of tootling around, we’ve got an armed forces big enough”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Ellwood responded: “Regarding Ben Wallace’s comments directly, he is in a more powerful position than others to correct this.
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“I hope that he is making it very clear in Whitehall that we need to invest in our armed forces.”
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister was criticised by Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, who warned that China “poses a threat to every element of what we do”.
He questioned Mr Sunak’s “robust pragmatism” strategy ahead of the Prime Minister’s foreign policy speech which was delivered to the Guildhall yesterday evening.
Sir Iain said: “I don’t agree that we want ‘robust pragmatism’ – what we have to recognise is China is posing a greater and greater threat to the way we live our lives.
“It’s guilty of genocide in Xinjiang, it’s guilty of cracking down on Christians, it threatens Taiwan, and it is damaging the world economy by its ludicrous position of Covid lockdowns.
“China poses a threat to every element of what we do.”
Speaking to the Telegraph, he added: “Just exactly how much more evidence does the Prime Minister need to see that his pledge in the summer to recognise it was a threat now needs to be acted on?”
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