Starmer accused of ‘playing with fire’ with defence spending as he arrives for Nato summit – live

Starmer accused of playing with fire with defence spending as he arrives for Nato summit live
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Rishi Sunak’s first speech as leader of opposition in House of Commons

Sir Keir Starmer has been accused by former colonel in British military intelligence Philip Ingram of “playing with fire” for delaying a decision on defence spending until the review.

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It comes as the prime minister said he is committed to spending 2.5% of GDP on defence “within our fiscal rules” ahead of the Nato summit in Washington DC.

But he cautioned that he needed to carry out a review before setting a timeline to reach that goal.

Sir Keir is attending the 75th summit of the Nato defence alliance in the US, where he will meet president Biden at the White House in their first face-to-face meeting.

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During the morning round, armed forces minister Luke Pollard claimed the next review into defence will not be completed until next year.

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In the Commons, hundreds of MPs are continue to be sworn in after Diane Abbott was praised by the PM on Tuesday during his first speech as prime minister following tension between the two early in the campaign trail.

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Labour minister: Defence review will be ‘Nato-first’

The government’s strategic defence review will be “Nato-first”, the armed forces minister has said.

Luke Pollard told Times Radio: “This will be a Nato-first strategic defence review, a focus on our unshakeable commitment to the North Atlantic, to the Europe area, to make sure that we’re keeping not only the UK safe but keeping our allies safe.

“Because if we don’t support Ukraine and if they don’t win, Russia won’t stop there.

“If we’re not supporting our allies in the Baltic states there will be continuing threats to the United Kingdom, as well as to the rest of Nato.”

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 08:12

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Ousted Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth gets new job as think tank chief

Jonathan Ashworth has been appointed chief executive of a Labour think tank after losing his seat in the General Election.

The Labour frontbencher had been expected to play a prominent role in the Labour Government, but was unseated by an independent in Leicester South in part because of the party’s stance on Gaza.

“We are delighted to welcome @jonashworth as our new Chief Executive,” Labour Together posted on X, formerly Twitter.

“After more than two decades working at the highest levels of @UKLabour, Jonathan brings unparalleled insight, relationships and political experience to Labour Together.”

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 08:05

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Government’s defence review to be completed ‘within the next year’

Armed forces minister Luke Pollard has revealed the next review into defence will be completed “within the next year”.

It comes Sir Keir Starmer refused to set out a timeline for when the UK will raise defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP.

Mr Pollard did not say when the Labour government will increase defence but claimed a review will be concluded “within the next year”, adding: “We need it to be as urgent as we can. That’s why we will be delivering this at pace, as fast as we can.”

He told Sky News: “We’ve committed to increase defence spend 2.5%, and the first step in that is a strategic defence review that will look at the capabilities that we need to deter the aggression that the UK and our allies are facing.

“That strategic defence review will be launched next week.

“We need that review to set out, importantly, what we want to spend that increased defence spending on, and what sequence that will be spent.”

(Sky News)

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:57

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Watch: Jeremy Corbyn caught on Commons mic before being sworn in as MP

Jeremy Corbyn caught on Commons mic before being sworn in as MP

Jeremy Corbyn was caught on a House of Commons microphone as MPs were sworn in to serve after the 2024 general election. The independent member for Islington North approached Marie Rimmer MP, jokingly instructing her to read her lines correctly. He then uttered, “This is such a load of nonsense.” The Commons welcomed 335 new members today (9 July) in a major shakeup for UK politics, featuring a majority of Labour MPs, as well as Lib Dem, Green and Reform UK members.

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:55

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Starmer wants Nato to ‘lock in’ Trump proof Ukraine military aid plan

But he again declined to give a timetable for when his “iron clad commitment” to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent will come into force.

His comments came as it emerged he had not been included in a discussion on air cover for Ukraine organised by the US government and including other allies.

But Sir Keir made it clear in the press briefing that he believes the summit over the next few days will “lock in” financial aid to Ukraine for its war effort.

Our political editor David Maddox has the full story:

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:47

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Keir Starmer warns Putin ‘we stand with Ukraine’

Sir Keir Starmer has sent a message to president Vladimir Putin after the “shocking and appalling” attack on a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday.

Asked by reporters what is his message to Putin, he said this summit “should be seen as a clear and united resolve by Nato allies to stand with Ukraine and stand up to Russian aggression”.

He added: “The attack strengthens the resolve and that is a very important if tragic backdrop to this summit.”

British Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer talks to journalists as he travels onboard a plane to Washington DC to attend a NATO summit
British Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer talks to journalists as he travels onboard a plane to Washington DC to attend a NATO summit (Getty Images)

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:42

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Prime minister accused of ‘playing with fire’ for delaying defence spending decision

During a flight to Washington, Sir Keir Starmer told reporters he is committed to the 2.5% increase on defence spending.

But the prime minister has been accused by a former colonel in British military intelligence of “playing with fire” for delaying the decision on defence spending until after the review.

Philip Ingram said: “It will take years to fix the army, our ammunition stocks, get the RAF and navy ready”.

F ormer head of the navy Lord West of Spithead, who was a security minister under a previous Labour government, said the party should confirm a timeline during the summit to “set an example to all European countries”.

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:30

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Starmer says defence spending commitment ‘cast iron’ but refuses to set timeline

Sir Keir Starmer has refused to guarantee that he will meet his flagship commitment on defence spending within his first term in office, despite a “cast iron” promise to get there.

The prime minister, who is meeting US President Joe Biden and other Nato leaders today at a summit to mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary, is pressing for European nations to increase defence spending.

But decisions on reaching the UK’s goal of spending 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) will follow a wholesale defence review being launched next week and must comply with the Government’s strict “fiscal rules” on spending and borrowing.

Speaking to reporters, Sir Keir was repeatedly pressed on whether the goal of spending 2.5% of GDP would be reached within his first term.

He said: “We are committed to the 2.5%, as I have said before the election and I say again after the election. That is obviously subject to our fiscal rules, but the commitment is there.

“The strategic review will take place, that will happen next week, and we will set out the details of that.

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“The manifesto commitment was that it would take place within a year, I would like it to be quicker than that if I’m honest and we’ll set out the details about how we are going to do it.”

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 07:17

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Mapped: Reform won five seats, but made gains in hundreds

Reform made gains in hundreds of seats across the country at last week’s general election, voting data shows.

Though Nigel Farage’s right-wing challenger party only won five seats in parliament, Reform took 14 per cent of the national vote – exceeding the Lib Dems at 12 per cent.

Reform made significant headway in over 100 seats, despite problems that arose with several candidates, many of whom were chosen in a scramble before the deadline.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 07:00

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Labour voters want Starmer to ditch his Brexit red lines and rejoin single market

Just 14 per cent thought they should not alter their Brexit red line stance, with only 2 per cent saying “definitely not”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain10 July 2024 06:00



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