by a Newsnet reporter
Labour’s shadow defence spokesman Jim Murphy has called the Tory-Lib Dem’s policy on defence a “strategic shrinkage by stealth”.
Mr Murphy made the comment in an interview with the BBC where he was responding to yesterday’s publication of the UK coalition government’s strategic defence review.
The Labour MP claimed that the nation’s defence policy had got “captured inside” the coalition government’s desire to cut the deficit and that “big questions” on the UK’s defence needs had not been asked.
Mr Murphy, who is the former Secretary of State for Scotland, claimed that a defence policy should be based around the 9/11 aftermath and the changing global situation, he suggested that both China and Iran posed a threat to the UK.
Asked how Labour would have dealt with the deficit in terms of defence and what cuts the party would not have undertaken Mr Murphy insisted that an aircraft carrier would have been kept. The Labour MP claimed that another aircraft carrier would have been good for Scotland and would have kept shipbuilding on the Clyde.
He attacked the current situation that saw an aircraft carrier up for sale and ‘an island nation’ unable to deploy one aircraft carrier.
Mr Murphy also argued that recent claims that scrapping the current aircraft carriers would have been more expensive than continuation was mere newspaper stories and that events have now suggested that this isn’t true.
He conceded that the UK could decide that foreign conflicts were now beyond our current resources and that deploying troops to other countries was “no longer the UK’s business”. However the Labour MP argued against such an outlook saying: “I don’t happen to agree, it’s a legitimate point of view, I don’t happen to agree.
He added: “But the danger is we may get to a variant of that by the depth of the cuts that are being made.”
Mr Murphy called for the defence review to re-opened and claimed that people were now “really angry”.
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