Last week I wrote about how I won’t be watching any of the FIFA World Cup being held in Russia in June and July, because of their appalling actions in Syria. Recent weeks have seen over 1,000 civilians killed in Eastern Ghouta including 200 children. Banned chemical weapons have also been used by Syria despite Russia claiming in 2013 they would oversee their removal. I had written this before it became known that a chemical weapon had been used in Salisbury during a murder attempt, with it being pretty obvious as to which country the chief suspect is.
The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has rightly referred to Russia as a malign and disruptive force. We shouldn’t forget the invasion of Crimea, the major destabilising of Eastern Ukraine including the shooting down of Malaysian airliner MH17, suspected cyber-attacks on UK infrastructure and aggressive testing of UK defence capabilities by Russians warplanes.
Recent events have shown that we cannot risk letting down our guard against aggressive nations. Against a backdrop of increasing global threats, we must make sure our Armed Forces have the resources and capabilities they need to maintain our edge against potential adversaries.
Since 2010 under the Conservatives, the UK has met the 2% of GDP target of defence spending and the defence budget will increase by at least 0.5% above inflation every year of this Parliament. The government are also spending over £179 billion on military equipment and support for our Armed Forces between 2017 and 2027. We need to show that Britain won’t be bullied.
People know that the Conservatives are fully committed to our nation’s defence but everyone knows the same cannot be said of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. I do wonder if Russia may actually feel emboldened there is a chance of a Corbyn-led government, which may further motivate their destabilising tactics against us?
Locally, Labour in Crawley is also weak on defence. Their left-wing financial Council boycott of the defence industry includes a major employer in Manor Royal. This is something the Conservatives will immediately reverse should we win political control of Crawley Borough Council.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
14th March 2018