UKIP defence spokesman Mike Hookem MEP has today called for “an end to the downgrading of the Armed Forces” as latest government figures show a decrease in 2,350 regular personnel since last year despite the increased threat to the UK.
Mr Hookem said the latest monthly service personnel statistics “showed structural problems in the morale of the Armed Forces with numbers of regular troops declining month on month.”
“This country is facing the threat from an enemy which, as a non-state actor, does not have any rules or red lines and recognises no international treaties yet we have a government which refuses to recognise the need to invest in the defence of this nation.
“Army 2020 was a sham of a policy which gerrymandered personnel numbers by including Reserve troops and, as of July, soldiers who have not even completed their training will be included.
“In short, the Army have nowhere near enough people to undertake all that they are expected to do by a government sadly lacking in military experience.
“In addition, the RAF have no decent tactical support aircraft and if the Navy were a civilian company they would be in receivership.
“We’ve seen all Type 45 destroyers in port at the same time: this is very likely to coincide with summer holidays and leave but they also have engines which can’t function in warm waters because they were the cheap option the government picked and alarmingly these are the same engines being used for the new aircraft carriers.”
Mr Hookem said should he become the party’ deputy leader “defence would be a priority for UKIP.”
“We are the only party who truly stands up for the veteran community but also prepared to put the money into our Armed Forces.
“It’s not just about one day a year in June where politicians can have their photos taken with troops, ” he said, referring to Armed Forces Day, “it’s 365 days a year.”