Loss of Welsh troops ‘would diminish’ England’s military capabilities, says Tory MP
The loss of Welsh troops “would diminish” the “military capabilities” of England, a Tory MP has suggested.
Former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, made the claim in an essay for Strength in Union, in which she argued against the countries of the UK becoming independent nation states.
The MP for Staffordshire Moorlands asked “what would happen to foreign policy if the Union were to break up”, and concluded that “British international influence would be diluted”.
She also argued that England’s military would be weaker if it were to lose regiments from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and if it were to lose the nuclear submarine base in Faslane.
Mark Drakeford has recently called for more Welsh troops to be based in Wales. The First Minister told the Senedd that Wales provides nearly twice its population share in terms of armed forces personnel “yet we have half our population share in terms of the basing strategy of the armed forces.”
He said Wales has 5% of the UK’s population, provides 9% of the UK’s service personnel, but added that only 2.5% of them are based in Wales.
Drakeford suggested that Wales isn’t getting its “fair share” and called on the UK Government to “put it right”.
Bradley also suggested that the UK’s seat on the UN Security Council could be lost to India.
‘Let us consider’
In her essay, Bradley wrote: “Let us consider, for the sake of argument, what would happen to foreign policy if the Union were to break up into its constituent nation states.
“Undoubtedly, British international influence would be diluted. Who would the world recognise as the successor state of the UK – the state with the right to inherit the former UK’s formal claims and capabilities?
“While England would remain in the world’s top 10 economies in terms of GDP, its military capabilities would be diminished with the loss of the Scottish, Welsh and Ulster regiments and the important submarine base at Faslane, which is of such vital importance to our nuclear deterrent, not to mention our ability to monitor Russian naval and air activities in the Greenland–Iceland–UK Gap.
“Which, if any, of the four newly emerged and clearly defined political units would claim the UK’s veto power on the UN Security Council? I am certain that there are other countries, like India, who may feel far more entitled to a seat than England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland alone.
“We have a duty, to those in need internationally, and to our compatriots, to take an active role in meeting our global commitments and leading the world. We are best placed to do this as one Global Britain, not four separate nations.”