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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Labour in disarray on defence again

Labour's problems with defence policy have continued with yet another row between the Leader's office and the MP designated to speak on the issue.

The Daily Mirror reports that Labour Defence Spokesperson, Nia Griffith was said to be "furious" at an intervention by the Labour leader's top aide, who failed to back RAF Top Guns' mission in Estonia:

Asked if RAF Top Guns should be pulled out of Estonia to ease tensions with Moscow, Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman said: "There clearly needs to be a ratcheting down of tensions between the West and Russia.

“There’s dangers involved in that military escalation, particularly on the NATO-Russian border.”

Sources close to Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith said she was “absolutely furious” and “absolutely livid” at the spokesman’s intervention.

Four Typhoon fighters are stationed in the former Communist bloc country as part of a NATO mission to protect its airspace from Kremlin warplanes.

But the Labour leader's spokesman refused to say if he supported the British jets's deployment or whether they should be withdrawn.

He also refused to confirm a UK government with Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister would defend Estonia if Russia invaded.

Yet just hours earlier, Ms Griffith had given an interview hailing Labour’s commitment to NATO, and backing British troops’ deployment to eastern Europe.

She told Forces TV: “I think it’s very, very important that we now play a very strong role in NATO, particularly as we are leaving the European Union.

“I think it’s very important for NATO to be absolutely clear, following what has happened in Ukraine, that we are standing together as NATO nations and there is no way that we would tolerate any attack on any one of our member states.

“I think that’s why it’s so important that we have this partnership work now with the three Baltic States and Poland.

“We are going to be particularly involved in both Poland and Estonia and it was clear from my talks with people out in Estonia that they very much welcome this partnership."

It is little wonder that Labour are struggling in the polls and losing many long term supporters when they cannot agree amongst themselves on key defence policies.
How big is the RAF? 4 seem to be a pathetic number to send. I trust the countries have a combined organisation strategy of working together.
It's not the number that matters, it's the symbolism. It signals resolve to defend. Remember the Falklands, and the removal of an antiquated protection vessel?

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