Posted on March 26, 2019
Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffiths, has accused the Conservative party of letting army numbers go into “freefall”, with numbers having dropped from 78,000 to 75,900 in just under two years. Also during Defence Questions, when addressing the falling numbers, the Shadow Defence Secretary said that Minister for Armed Forces Mark Lancaster should quit if the number fell below 70,000. However Mr. Lancaster replied saying he was “certainly not” prepared to resign and insisted that the Army was not under-staffed.
The Minister for Armed Forces replied to the accusations saying: “I think she rather over-eggs the pudding slightly to describe it as being in freefall. Yes, numbers have reduced, but we’ve already explained why, with now the highest number of applications on record in January, we’re confident that numbers will increase. Crucially, actually the Army remains at 93% manning and can meet all of its operational commitments.”
Ms Griffiths replied: “Doesn’t that say it all, he doesn’t even have the courage to put his job on the line. Time and time again he comes here and bluffs his way through with empty rhetoric when the simple fact is he has failed completely and army numbers are falling month by month. At best he is complacent, at worst he has junked the stated target of 82,000 and not got the guts to tell us. When is he going to accept it’s his responsibility to end this failure and get a grip?”