Why we’re talking about . . .

Planned Army cuts would leave UK unable to recapture Falklands, general claims

Ministry of Defence unveiling series of major changes to the Armed Forces

The UK would “almost certainly” be unable to recapture the Falklands if swingeing planned cuts to troop numbers go ahead, a former chief of the defence staff has warned.

Retired general and crossbench peer Lord Richards insisted that “mass still matters”, as the government prepares to publish its Defence Command Paper later today outlining major changes to the country’s Armed Forces.

Under the plans, the size of the regular Army is expected to be reduced from the current target of 82,000 to 72,000 troops, which would be “its smallest in 200 years”, reports The Times.

In an interview on Times Radio, Richards said that while “we need to get more into hi-tech, cyber, drone technology and so on”, that shift must not be “at the expense of conventional capabilities and key to that is numbers”.

The planned cuts mean “we would not be able to recapture the Falklands, almost certainly,” he continued, “but the strategy in respect to the Falklands is to continue to occupy it and not allow them to be captured. Now, if that goes wrong, we have got a problem.”

Slashing the forces would prove “an asymmetric attraction to one’s opponents”, Richards added, with the UK also unable to fight another Gulf War or Iraq War.

Such fears have been downplayed by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who is outlining the plans to MPs in the Commons today.

Wallace yesterday told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that the UK will “have an Armed Forces that is the right size to meet the threat and the right size to meet the government’s ambition of having a global Britain that uphold values and support its allies”.

There will also be “extra money to fight in the new domains of space and cyber, and for robots and drones”, according to Jonathan Beale, defence correspondent for the BBC

And The Guardian suggests that the Royal Marines will receive an extra £200m and that the special forces will increase in size.

Recommended

The pros and cons of streaming trials online
Lady Justice on top of Old Bailey the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales
Pros and cons

The pros and cons of streaming trials online

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

Meghan Markle bullying report: why the palace is staying ‘tight-lipped’
The Duchess of Sussex at a thanksgiving service during the Platinum Jubilee
Behind the scenes

Meghan Markle bullying report: why the palace is staying ‘tight-lipped’

‘A new Iron Curtain’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘A new Iron Curtain’

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

When will paper £20 and £50 notes expire?
Paper banknotes
Business Briefing

When will paper £20 and £50 notes expire?

What happened to Zara Aleena?
Zara Aleena
In Brief

What happened to Zara Aleena?

The Week Footer Banner