Lib Dem Manifesto: "UK Must Be Able To Defend Itself"

The Liberal Democrats' manifesto also states that the UK must "support its neighbours and allies, and engage in humanitarian intervention"...

The Liberal Democrats have officially released their manifesto for the forthcoming general election.

It states that "the UK must be able to defend itself and the territories for which it has responsibility, support its neighbours and allies, and engage in humanitarian intervention".

The party pledges to commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence, to invest in intelligence services, and to increase international military co-operation to prevent conflict.

The manifesto focuses on leading "international nuclear disarmament efforts", supporting the Armed Forces Covenant and working with international partners to address the ongoing refugee crisis. 

Former Lib Dem Leader and former Royal Marine Paddy Ashdown spoke to Forces News about the Liberal Democrats defence policies:

Earlier this week, he launched a campaign to protect the Royal Marines from government cuts.

A statement on the party's website said:

"This is disgraceful. The Royal Marines’ expertise is unparalleled. Strong, flexible and incisive, they keep us, and the world, safe."

In March, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon refused to rule out a further cut to the number of marines.

The Lib Dems also aim to strengthen the armed services by recruiting more graduates with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications, while improving the quality of service housing by bringing the Ministry of Defence into line with other landlords.

At the forefront of the Liberal Democrat manifesto is Brexit, as the party seeks to "protect Britain's place in Europe".

Key pledges include the offer of a second referendum to ensure the deal agreed with Brussels is put to voters, with one option being to remain in the EU, and the desire to "fight a hard Brexit".

The latter involves promises to press for the UK to unilaterally guarantee the rights of the 3.2 million EU nationals living in the UK, seeking continued access to the single market and customs union, and allowing Britons to continue to work, travel, study and retire across the EU.

The Labour Party and Plaid Cymru launched their manifestos yesterday, while SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was in South Queensferry to mark a decade of her party being in government.

The Conservative Party will launch its manifesto tomorrow.

Cover picture courtesy of the Liberal Democrats.