Labour’s Shadow Defence spokesman Jim Murphy MP has warned the party it must get rid of ‘shallow populism’ and stop opposing all the Coalition’s cuts.
Mr Murphy said the answer was to publicly state that many of the Coalition’s cuts are justified and even suggested £5bn of defence spending cuts that he said would show Labour is credible on the economy.
Many in Labour are worried about polls showing voters don’t see the party as being credible on both the economy and dealing with the deficit.
Mr Murphy, said the party needed to demonstrate “genuine credibility” on spending by outlining where savings would be made.
He said: “It is important to be both credible and popular when it comes to defence investment and the economics of defence.
“It is difficult to sustain popularity without genuine credibility – credibility is the bridge away from populism and towards popularity.”
Mr Murphy, outlined how he would make £5bn of defence cuts saying he would make £5bn of cuts by accepting the scrapping of the Nimrod MR4 surveillance aircraft. Mr Murphy also foresees reducing tank regiments and selling off some defence property as well as making efficiencies in the Trident renewal programme and scrapping the VC-10 transporter aircraft and the C-130J Hercules transporter.
Other plans include accepting the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition’s cuts to civilian allowances and targeting welfare for servicemen earning less than £20,000.
Mr Murphy added: “The truth is the Labour party would have to make cuts if we were in power” – but he said he would not accept all the Government’s defence cuts.