The declining power of Britain’s military is giving off a signal of weakness, Lord Richards said yesterday.
Issuing his siren alarm, the Army general insisted enemies such as Russia “will call our bluff” and mount an attack on the UK or our allies.
The peer told The House magazine: “It’s got to be substantial amounts of money that the government must spend on the Armed Forces over the next ten years, if they’re to provide the influence on a day-to-day basis that we need in the post-Brexit era.
“If there is any doubt about that, then the chances of conflict are increased because our opponents will call our bluff or seek to call our bluff.
“Some of what I’m seeing suggests that we are getting perilously close to that.”
Aggressive Russian president Vladimir Putin will pose the biggest test to Britain’s military resolve, he added.
Lord Richards said: “If all countries continue not to invest in their Armed Forces over the next few years, then there will be a risk that Russian and other adventurism will catch us out.”
While declaring he is “very pleased” with new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s fight for more forces cash, the ex-Chief of Defence Staff said “the jury is out” on whether he will be a good forces boss.
Lord Richards added: “He loses nothing by doing his job, which is to push the case for more spending on the Armed Forces.
“It’s whether or not he succeeds that will determine one’s judgment.”
Downing Street hit back at the general’s criticisms.
The PM’s spokesman said: “We don’t agree. The defence budget is increasing to make sure we have the armed forces we need to defend the country”.
VISA BOOST FOR HEROES
More than 150 faced having to leave if they did not pay a £2,389 visas bill.
But Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told The Sun the fees would be waived.
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