UK armed forces would only last 'five days' in war: Senior MP
A senior UK member of Parliament says his country's military would only last for five days in the case of a war.
The British armed forces would only last "about five days" in a war if one were to break out, a senior Tory MP claimed on Friday in light of mounting pressure on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, to increase the country's defense spending in next month's budget.
High inflation rates and the cost of replacing equipment sent to Ukraine had created a "really grim picture" and led to highly depleted military supplies, Conservative chair of the Commons Defense Committee Tobia Ellwood told the Financial Times.
According to Ellwood, the army is facing a massive shortage of surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles, two of the most supplied arms to Ukraine from the United Kingdom.
“I’m very concerned that the message coming out of the Treasury is indicating that we must brace ourselves for further real terms cuts because inflation is rising,” he said.
Hunt pledged to consider upping the UK's military spending as a response to an update of the government's 2021 foreign and defense policy that is due soon.
This comes amid an increase in lobbying for more military spending in London, with defense officials discussing cost-cutting measures.
Meanwhile, the condition of the British army has become a domestic political issue, with Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, a prominent lobbyist for increased military spending, telling parliament earlier in the month that the United Kingdom "hollowed out and underfunded" its forces.
The Ministry of Defense, however, has dismissed the claims that the UK army has grown meager, stressing that "These are speculative rumors, which always circulate before a Budget and even more so in the run-up to the integrated review. We don’t comment on speculation."
Britain has so far provided more than £2.3bn of military aid to Ukraine, and the government has also allocated £560mn to the MoD to replenish depleted UK weapons stockpiles, the Financial Times reported.
Wallace has reportedly been told by a senior US general that the British army is not a top-level fighting force, Sky News reported in late January.
In light of the war in Ukraine, decades of downsizing are reported to have resulted in a decrease in warfighting capabilities, which must be restored as soon as possible.
Defense sources were quoted on Sky News as saying, "bottom line... it's an entire service unable to protect the UK and our allies for a decade." The sources added the that UK's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak risks failing in his job as "wartime Prime Minister" unless the situation is drastically altered.
They advised increasing the defense budget by at least £3 billion per year, with no future reductions in the size of the army, and that peacetime procurement standards be waived to buy weapons swiftly.
Sky News argued that the armed forces would run out of ammunition "in a matter of days" if called upon to combat. It's a crying shame that the United Kingdom cannot protect its skies against the level of missile and drone attacks that Ukraine is subjected to.
It would take the army five to ten years to produce a war-fighting division of 25,000 to 30,000 troops supported by tanks, artillery, in addition to helicopters.
Approximately 30% of UK personnel on high readiness are reservists who are unable to mobilize within NATO timeframes - "so we'd show up under strength."
Satirically, the UK is playing a critical role in providing Kiev with weapons, with the Prime Minister becoming the first leader to vow to send Western tanks - a leadership role he seemed eager to emphasize when he turned to social media after Germany and the US followed suit.
"Really pleased they've joined the UK in sending main battle tanks to Ukraine," Sunak said in a tweet last Wednesday.
"We have a window to accelerate efforts to secure lasting peace for Ukrainians. Let's keep it up," he added.
Despite this aggressive tone, Sunak omitted to include closing capability gaps in his military forces as one of his top five goals in his maiden policy speech as prime minister in early January amid war in Ukraine.