Image ID 2JRF8XC DETAILS EXP 041123 CREDIT Alamy .jpg
Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey has said Conservative ministers must stop any further cuts to British Army (Picture: Alamy).

Rearm Britain, reinforce Ukraine and halt all military cuts, Labour's shadow defence secretary says

Image ID 2JRF8XC DETAILS EXP 041123 CREDIT Alamy .jpg
Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey has said Conservative ministers must stop any further cuts to British Army (Picture: Alamy).

Labour's shadow defence secretary John Healey will urge the Government to reboot its defence plans and boost military production to support Ukraine and to properly rearm Britain.

During a speech at the Institute of Directors, hosted by defence and security think-tank RUSI later today, Mr Healey will call on Rishi Sunak to push for British industry to produce weapons and ammunition to replenish the UK's own dwindling stockpiles and to continue efforts to arm Ukraine, ahead of its Integrated Review, due to be published next month.

Mr Healey will say that Conservative ministers should immediately set out a strategy to combat Russia's continued aggression.

The shadow defence secretary will also say ministers must not delay reforming defence procurement and should commit to halting any further cuts to the Army, to ensure Britain can secure itself as Nato's leading European nation.

Mr Healey says a Labour government would continue to support Ukraine for the long-term and look to replenish UK stocks for any future conflict.

Watch: Integrated Review - How could the military blueprint change?

The Labour defence chief will say the UK needs to "signal to Putin that things will get worse, not better for Russia".

He will warn: "The next government will inherit the Ukraine conflict and Russia's wider aggression. With a General Election, there may be a change to Labour but there will be no change to Britain's resolve in confronting Russia's threats, pursuing Putin's crimes and standing with Ukraine."

Mr Healey will challenge the Government to "secure Britain as Nato's leading European nation" and ensure the UK's obligations to the alliance are "fulfilled in full".

He will also say that with Labour in government, a "Nato test" on major projects will be conducted during its first 100 days, to ensure Britain is on track to meet its Nato commitments.

This commitment, he will say, should include a confirmation that further cuts to British Army numbers will be "halted". 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace last week admitted that the Armed Forces had been "hollowed out and underfunded" prior to a new spending settlement in 2020, but also called on Labour to accept some responsibility for the situation.

In his speech, Mr Healey will say this is an "admission of failure over 13 years of Conservative government".

Mr Healey is also set to confirm Labour's commitment to conduct and publish a Strategic Defence and Security Review within its first year in government.

In response, a Conservative Party spokesperson said: "Instead of sticking to their spending promises, this amounts to half a billion in new spending with no new funds to back it up – which means either cuts elsewhere or unsustainable borrowing.

"Rather making a decision on defence, Labour have more reviews than policy. The one thing they aren't willing to review is the position of shadow minister for disarmament – which risks undermining our security stance.

"Only the Conservatives can be trusted to sustainably invest in defence and keep us safe by supporting our Armed Forces so that we can take on the threats of the future."

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