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'Putin will enjoy this': Tobias Ellwood warns UK must 'prepare' for Trump win after 'unhinged' Nato remarks
11 February 2024, 13:10
There will be huge security consequences for Europe if Donald Trump wins the next US presidential election, former defence minister Tobias Ellwood has told LBC.
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The former President said he would “encourage” Russia to attack a Nato ally if it did not meet its spending commitments as part of the alliance at one of his rallies.
Speaking in South Carolina on Saturday, Mr Trump said he would encourage Kremlin leaders "to do whatever the hell they want" to countries that are "delinquent".
Speaking to LBC about the remarks, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, a former defence minister and chairman of the Defence Select Committee, said a Trump presidency could threaten European security.
Mr Ellwood, who is half American, said: “When he was in office, he touted the idea of actually taking the United States out of Nato.
“Now, whether these are just idle threats to try and get the continent to increase defence spending, not least Germany, which actually now has, we don't really know.
“But the fact is that Putin will enjoy this. It’ll send a positive message to him to say under Donald Trump, the United States will not be a concern or indeed a threat to Russia."
Mr Ellwood, who is also an ex-soldier, told LBC he has called on the Civil Service to start mapping how significant an impact a Trump administration will be to European and British security.
He added: “Not to interfere with who might or might not be elected. That’s for the Americans to decide.
“But ultimately we need to prepare now, because there will be huge security concerns for Europe if the bigger picture is that the United States tilts away from its interests in European security.”
Mr Ellwood stressed, however, the strength of the UK’s diplomatic relationship with the US, or the exchange of intelligence, does not change regardless of who is at the very top.
A White House spokesperson said Donald Trump’s comments were “appalling” and “unhinged”.