Arlene Foster at DUP manifesto launch in Belfast

General Election 2019: DUP Vows To Restore Size Of Armed Forces

The Democratic Unionist Party launched its manifesto in Belfast.

Arlene Foster at DUP manifesto launch in Belfast

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has launched its manifesto, which includes plans to make further changes to Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, as well as restoring the size of the British military.

Party leader Arlene Foster said the DUP wants a Brexit deal that "works for the whole of the UK and which does not leave Northern Ireland behind, with no border in the Irish Sea".

On defence, the party wants a "medium-term strategy" to restore the size of the military so it "more accurately reflects" the threats facing the UK.

The party is pledging to keep to NATO targets by spending "2% plus" GDP on defence and supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent programme.

It is also calling for soldiers to be given "better protections" from legal investigations.

The party's manifesto reads: "We are supportive in principle of exploring protections for the Armed Forces where they would not lead to an amnesty or be restricted to operations outside the United Kingdom."

Anonymous Sailors Onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth with F35 In Background
The DUP says it wants to "restore" the size of the military (Picture: MOD).

The DUP also says it wants to prevent "one-sided" investigations into the Troubles.

"Ninety percent of those who died during the Troubles were killed by paramilitaries yet the balance of investigations is disproportionately against former police officers and soldiers," the party's manifesto claims.

"It is only natural that the public are outraged to see former soldiers who stood against the brutal terrorism of the seventies and eighties instigated by the IRA, now being hounded while those who hid behind balaclavas to avoid justice are given 'hero' status and places on Policing Boards.

"We will do everything we can to assist innocent victims to obtain a measure of justice."

British Army Ferret armoured vehicles in Londonderry
British Army Ferret armoured vehicles in Londonderry during the Troubles in 1972 (Picture: PA).

It is also calling for a "new long-term" plan for Army housing - the party described the condition and maintenance of the majority of Army homes as "unacceptable".

The party is proposing to get rid of indefinite leave to remain fees for ex-service personnel and their families, born outside the UK, who are choosing to settle in the country.

The DUP is also calling for the Military Covenant to be reviewed and updated, in addition to an independent review into national strategic defence and security.

It also wants to remove the Ministry of Defence's Crown Protection regarding deaths in training.

The party's 12-point defence approach concludes by stating the party's belief that it is "unacceptable" that Northern Ireland has never hosted the national Armed Forces Day event.

It goes on to say it hopes Northern Ireland will host it during the next parliament.

Cover image: PA.