The purchase of Britain’s new aircraft carriers was a “bad idea” and the MoD would “rue the day” they were bought, a former defence chief has said.
The Lord Houghton of Richmond, former Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), has told a Commons committee the £6 billion price tag for Britain's two new carriers was “affordable only to the detriment of the surface fleet”.
Giving evidence to the National Security Strategy committee, Lord Houghton said that as Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in 2010 he was not in favour of buying two aircraft carriers and new F-35 stealth jets for the air force whilst also expecting the Defence budget to include the nuclear deterrent submarines.
Spending on such expensive equipment “massively unbalances the amount of money to spend on capabilities in more active need of use,” he said.
Lord Houghton said HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales were deemed to be “too totemic to Britain’s sense of place in the world” for the programmes to be cancelled, and acknowledged that to do so would send “too big a signal of our diminution on the world stage”. (end of excerpt)
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