» Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Defence Equipment

Asked why there had been an announcement on helicopters this morning before the statement this afternoon and was it an effort to soften the blow, the PMS replied that departments often issued statements before a full house of Commons statement.

Put that the statement said that the first helicopters would come into service in 2013 and help the frontline in Afghanistan and was this a clear statement that we would still be in the country at that time, the PMS said people should not read anything into that. We had always said there would be a re-balancing process as part of the Afghanisation process. The Prime Minister had made it very clear the basis on which that would take place. It was all a function of how quickly Afghan troops could be trained up and responsibility being handed over.

Put that one of the criticisms of this was that it had happened without a full scale defence review, the PMS said that we had always been very clear that there wouldn’t be a defence review this side of the election. This was an annual requirement for the Secretary of State for Defence to come to the House on this issue.

It was also clear that given we were engaged in the campaign in Afghanistan, that a reconfiguration of resources was required and that shouldn’t be a surprise to people.

Asked if there had been a decision on whether Britain would be procuring any C17 aircraft, the PMS advised people to wait for the statement.

original source.

Briefing took place at 10:00 | Search for related news

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