The Government says a major review of Britain’s defence and foreign policy will be made public in the "coming months".
The Integrated Review, dubbed the biggest "since the end of the Cold War", is now unlikely to be announced next month, as previously expected.
It follows a Commons Liaison Committee meeting on Wednesday, when Boris Johnson was asked by chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin for confirmation that the review would be announced in mid-February as planned.
However, the Prime Minister replied: "I’ve got to hold your horses there – it won’t be as soon as that… I’d say it is a little bit premature."
Earlier this week, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had said "the current target date for the IR is the first two weeks of February", adding the review should be used to "enhance the use of Reserves".
It was due to have been published last autumn, but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After being temporarily paused in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, the review resumed in June 2020, with the Government inviting submissions of evidence in September.
The Chair of the Defence Select Committee criticised the news that the publication of the Integrated Review findings has been pushed back again, saying this is now "well overdue".
Tobias Ellwood said: “I would really encourage this Government to continue and conclude this important exercise.
“We’ve had a decade where our troops have been overstretched on demand, we’re using dated equipment as well.
“This was the opportunity to regroup but, more than that, it’s also to confirm our ambitions in the world, to check and understand our threats that we face and give clarity as to what our defence posture should be.”
Mr Ellwood added that it is also important to consider the changing situation in the White House, with US President-elect Joe Biden about to take office in the coming days.
He said: “We have a change of the guard in the White House, we have a new determination, a sensible resolve if you like, by President Biden to regroup Western concerns about what’s going on around the world, to stand up to geopolitical threats.
“We want to be part of that and we can only do that if we complete this review.”
There has been little clarity from the Cabinet Office on specifically when the review can be expected.
A UK Government spokesperson told Forces News: "The Integrated Review is an ambitious initiative which will set out the Government’s vision for a modern defence, security, foreign and development policy, as we tackle the threats of the 21st Century as four nations and one United Kingdom.
"The full conclusions of the Integrated Review will be announced in the coming months."
In November, Mr Johnson set out a £16.5bn increase in defence spending over four years as he said the UK faces a “perilous” period for global security.
The Prime Minister told MPs the UK will become Europe’s leading naval power, while the military will be modernised.
Mr Johnson said the billions of pounds of extra defence funding would "restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe".
Cover image: MOD.