Former environment secretary Owen Paterson weighs in to 2% defence target debate

Former environment secretary set to pressure government over Ministry of Defence budget, while defence secretary Michael Fallon says he will be 'fighting' against MoD cuts

European Space Agency

By Josh May

22 Mar 2015

Owen Paterson will seek to put more pressure on the Conservative leadership to commit to spending 2% of national income on defence with a speech this week.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that Paterson, the former environment secretary, will accuse the government of “succumbing to temptation” to reduce spending when he addresses the Heritage Foundation thinktank in the US.

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Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, has told the same newspaper the Tories are providing an “absolute promise” that the Armed Forces will “get the resources and equipment they need and the regulars will not be cut further”. He added that he would “certainly be fighting” against cuts to the defence budget in future spending negotiations.

The Sunday Times reports that Tory backbenchers could demand the 2% target in return for keeping Mr Cameron in post after the election, if he fails to win a majority.

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