Wednesday News Review

“Cash driven” defence review

Mr Cameron denied the review was simply a “cost-saving exercise”, saying it was instead a “step change in the way we protect this country’s security interests” But Mr Miliband told MPs it was a “complete shambles”. “It is a spending review dressed up as a defence review, it has been chaotically conducted, it has been hastily prepared and it is simply not credible as a strategic blueprint for our future defence needs,” he said. In the House of Lords, those criticisms were repeated by Lord Boyce, who was chief of the defence staff from 2001 to 2003. “I cannot say I welcome the statement on this cash-driven defence review and I certainly can’t possibly dignify it with the word ‘strategic’,” he said. “It will be viewed with dismay by our hardworking and operationally oppressed sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen.” – The BBC

AN MP has accused the Government of “playing politics with national security” and putting jobs at risk after delays to the Trident successor programme were announced yesterday. Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock spoke out after prime minister David Cameron announced the replacement for the Vanguard submarines would not come into service until 2028 – a delay of four years. In the Commons, Mr Woodcock challenged the prime minister over the cost of the delay. He said: “The prime minister reassured the people of Furness that he was committed to replacing Trident – but this delay will generate unnecessary worry and uncertainty for workers in Barrow shipyard and the many businesses whose future depends on the prosperity the yard generates. “Instead of showing leadership in the long-term interests of the country, Mr Cameron has bowed to pressure from within his government and kicked Trident into the long grass. But playing politics with Britain’s national security like this puts jobs here at risk and will cost the taxpayer far more overall.” – The North West Evening Mail

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy described the arrangement as “peculiar” and “driven by finance”. He told the BBC: “What’s the purpose of an aircraft carrier if not to carry aircraft? And I think to leave our country without a single fixed-wing aircraft able to fly off our aircraft carriers for a decade is a very worrying decision. “It can’t be driven by security needs or strategic needs. No-one based on the security needs of our country would come to the decision that a decade without an aeroplane on an aircraft carrier is the right decision.” – The BBC

Tory “cowards” ideological cuts

If they win the argument they will persuade the country there is an alternative to the ConDem cuts which will lead to half-a-million job losses. If they lose, the country faces another decade of Thatcherism, devastating public services and industries. The room is the private office of the leader of the opposition. It is dark and spartan. The books lining the wall are mainly fake – they hide a secret door leading to the offices where the shadow cabinet meet. Mr Miliband told the Mirror: “We have the right arguments on our sides. The Tories are on an ideological mission to shrink government, to take away the help that government can give.” – The Mirror

Tory MPs were branded “cowards” yesterday for refusing to meet protesters worried about today’s spending cuts. Dozens of union activists had made appointments to lobby their MPs before an anti-cuts rally in Westminster. But they were turned away after being told all Tory MPs had been summoned to a meeting with PM David Cameron. Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public sector union Unison, stormed: “They’re cowards. It’s an outrage that they have turned their backs on constituents when many had travelled hundreds of miles to see them.” – The Mirror

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said the Coalition wanted to “drag the UK into a dismal, downward spiral of despair”. He added: “The public can only take so much, working people will only take so much, and this union has already had enough”. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber told the protesters that the Coalition Government’s cuts programme was a political choice, not an economic necessity and would make Britain “a more unequal, more squalid and nastier country”. Missing from the protest was Labour leader Ed Miliband, despite his declaration at the TUC conference that he would “definitely” be there. Aides denied it was a u-turn, insisting the TUC had not asked any politicians to attend. – The Herald

Ed records high poll rating

Despite the vote of confidence, 45pc of people asked in the survey said they were dissatisfied with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government compared to the 42pc who said they were in favour. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, remains more popular among Conservative supporters than among his own supporters. Elsewhere, Ed Miliband, elected as Labour leader at the end of last month, recorded the highest satisfaction ratings of any opposition leader one month in – although a third of the public do not yet have an opinion of him.

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