Jim Murphy MP, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, responding to Liam Fox’s statement yesterday, said:
On cuts to the Army:<div>“Today’s announcement of a smaller army comes from a Party that promised thousands of extra troops in opposition. It is hard to conclude anything other than that this is strategic shrinkage by stealth, because today’s cut in the Army is bigger than the entire current deployment of all UK Forces in Afghanistan.</div>
“We welcome any additional investment in the equipment programme but many of the announcements today were announced last October, so we will look at the small print with care.
“There will be relief that the Government is being more honest about its plans, and has privately faced up to the inadequacy of the defence review even if it will not admit it publicly.”
“Reservists are great patriots and a bridge into our communities at a time when many people have little understanding of or connection to the Armed Forces. They serve with enormous bravery and we should pay permanent tribute to those who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There will be concerns if bespoke standing units of reservists were to become the norm since this could increase the commitment required from civilians and potentially therefore hinder recruitment. We would also have concerns that this would shift training resources away from the Regular Army. We also need to know how Government will address the worry that this approach would undermine the ‘One Army’ concept.”
On RAF Leuchars:
“There will be fury in Fife. The RAF has been based in Leuchars for over 70 years and it is a matter of deep regret that the Government has chosen to break this historic link that has served our nation in peace and conflict.
“It is clear that the Government hasn’t done its homework. They are closing this RAF base to make savings they haven’t identified and redeploying the Army at costs they haven’t quantified.
“We need to know the cost of this and on whom the liability will fall. We need also to know the timescale as this will have a huge impact on the local communities whose economies rely on the base.”