'We’re dancing on pinheads' around China, says former chief of the UK's Special Forces

14 March 2023, 11:03 | Updated: 14 March 2023, 12:43

Ex-General brands Sunak's defence review disappointing

By Ellen Morgan

Major-General Jonathan Shaw, who commanded NATO units in Kosovo and British Army units in Iraq - lambasted the government for spending 5 billion pounds extra on defence, branding the strategy a “disappointment.”

When asked by Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC about the threat China poses to the West, the Major-General explained that it represents a “challenge” to the “whole international order” championed by the UK and US since the end of the Second World War.

Nick queried how a pact between the UK and the US to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines is going to address this, and the Major-General replied the foreign security strategy is “not itself going to solve the problem.”

He said if he were the Defence Secretary, he wouldn’t be celebrating the announcement, rather he’d be “wringing my hands in disappointment.”

The Major-General criticised the defence review, saying it isn’t enough “to meet the present need for ammunition and supplies in Ukraine.”

READ MORE: 'What do you get from gazing at a stuffed lion's head you shot?': Tom Swarbrick quizzes trophy hunting fanatic

Nick then asked whether LBC listeners should feel more “secure” following the announcement.

The Major-General replied that the UK government has “missed the moment,” to ramp up defence spending, especially in the aftermath of the Ukraine invasion, which he described as “seismic".

He conceded that although China’s “fundamentally different values” could bring about a “major shift,” the Prime Minister had “missed the point” by spending more on defence and should have done more to help Ukraine in the early days of Russia's invasion last year.

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