Labor would implement a “test of NATO” for all major defense projects amid growing foreign threats, the shadow defense secretary has said.
John Healey told the Telegraph that during his first 100 days in government he would set up a test under which the Ministry of Defense would report directly to him on major defense projects, to ensure that they were “on track to fulfill NATO obligations”.
It would also look to see if they “contribute to real NATO defences” and seek to examine any funding shortfalls in ongoing major projects.
Speaking of general elections due within the next two years, Mr Healey said he would also assess “how they contribute to real NATO defenses and look at any funding and capability gaps”.
He said the test would be ‘one of my first acts as Defense Secretary and form the basis of a Labor Government’s Strategic Defense Review’.
“Our Labor mission in government will be to ensure that Britain is the leading European nation in NATO, recognizing that European allies must take on more responsibility for European security after Ukraine,” he said. he added.
He insisted that “Labour is the party of NATO”, and “proud that Attlee and Bevin forged its founding charter in 1949, including Article 5”.
“We have an unwavering continuing commitment to NATO and our independent British deterrent, which we also maintain on behalf of NATO allies,” he said.
No time to downsize
Speaking during a visit to Washington where he sought to outline the “change you can expect on defense with a Labor government after the next election”, Mr Healey also warned against the plans of the British ministers to cut 10,000 soldiers from the British army.
He said it was “deeply concerning” at a time when NATO was increasing the size of its high-readiness force from 40,000 to 300,000 after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
“This government risks leaving our armed forces without the troops and equipment they need to fight and fulfill our obligations to NATO,” he said. “Ministers are failing British troops and British taxpayers.”
“As threats increase, our test of NATO would ensure that we have the strength to maintain our collective security. This is Labor’s unwavering commitment to the Alliance in action.”
His greatest concern stemmed from “unresolved issues with the procurement of Ajax armored vehicles, which are essential to the army’s ability to deploy a credible combat division to assist NATO”.
Mr Healey also cited the case of the E-7 Wedgetail sentry planes – which ministers said would ‘transform’ the UK’s contribution to NATO – which have been delayed, as well as the indecision over the purchase of naval support ships designed to support the Queen Elizabeth class. aircraft carrier.
He said: ‘This government’s flawed military supply system has wasted taxpayers’ money and risks leaving our armed forces without the equipment and troops they need to fight and fulfill our NATO obligations. .
“Our ‘test of NATO’ will be the basis for action by the Labor Government to ensure that Britain fully meets its obligations to the Alliance as a cornerstone of our collective security.
“Labour will make the UK a leading voice in Europe on collective security and defence. This is our unwavering commitment to NATO in action.