Starmer hit for ‘massive uncertainty’ on defence spending as he meets Biden at Nato

Starmer hit for ‘massive uncertainty’ on defence spending as he meets Biden at Nato
Rishi Sunak’s first speech as leader of opposition in House of Commons

Sir Keir Starmer is attending the 75th summit of the Nato defence alliance in the US, where he will meet President Jo Biden at the White House in their first face-to-face meeting.

But on the other side of the Atlantic, the prime minister has been accused by shadow minister James Cartlidge of causing “massive uncertainty” for the UK’s armed forces after failing to set a deadline for increasing defence spending.

Sir Keir said he is committed to spending 2.5% of GDP on defence “within our fiscal rules” but he cautioned that he needed to carry out a review before setting a timeline to reach that goal.

Armed forces minister Luke Pollard claimed the next review into defence will not be completed until next year.

Former colonel in British military intelligence Philip Ingram of “playing with fire” by delaying a decision on defence spending until after a review.

In the Commons, hundreds of MPs are continue to be sworn in after Diane Abbott was praised by the PM on Tuesday during his first speech as prime minister, following tension between the two early in the campaign trail.


How Nato countries compare to the UK in defence spending?

All members of Nato are signed up to an agreement to spend the equivalent of 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defence per year.

Here is a list of how much was estimated to have been spent on defence by Nato countries in 2023 as a proportion of their national GDP, according to the latest Nato report.

  • United States 3.24%
  • Greece 3.05%
  • Estonia 2.89%
  • Lithuania 2.75%
  • Finland 2.46%
  • Latvia 2.37%
  • UK 2.28%
  • Hungary 2.07%
  • Slovakia 2.05%
  • Denmark 2.00%
  • France 1.90%
  • Bulgaria 1.87%
  • Norway 1.80%
  • Croatia 1.75%
  • Albania 1.72%
  • North Macedonia 1.70%
  • Germany 1.66%
  • Netherlands 1.63%
  • Romania 1.60%
  • Turkey 1.58%
  • Montenegro 1.55%
  • Czech Republic 1.53%
  • Portugal 1.48%
  • Italy 1.47%
  • Slovenia 1.33%
  • Canada 1.33%
  • Spain 1.24%
  • Belgium 1.21%
  • Luxembourg 1.01%
Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 10:26


Keir Starmer to call Nato countries to increase defence amid spending row

Sir Keir Starmer will use the 75th anniversary of the Nato summit to call countries to increase defence spending in response to rising global threats.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the prime minister is set to launch a major review setting out plans to boost defence to its target of 2.5 per cent of GDP.

But he is facing pressure over when he will deliver on his campaign pledge with shadow defence minister James Cartlidge urged the prime minister to come clean and stop the “massive uncertainty”.

He told Sky News: “By not announcing at the Nato summit that we are going to 2.5 per cent Keir Starmer has created massive uncertainty and I do think that will be damaging for our armed forces at the worst possible time.”

The prime minister is set to meet Jo Biden in the White House as the US president battles against Donald Trump to stay for second term.

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 10:10


Ex-MI6 boss warns increasing defence spending ‘more important’ than NHS

Former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove has warned to increase defence spending should be “more important” than the NHS.

Mr Dearlove said political parties during the general election campaign had not “described to the voters the seriousness of the situation that we face at the moment”. 

He told Times Radio: “I think one of the really terrible things about the election campaign was the fact that neither party really described to the voters the seriousness of the situation that we face at the moment.

“In my view, actually our defence expenditure should be around 3 per cent, maybe even a bit higher. The Poles are already spending 3.9 per cent and gonna go even higher. There is an urgency. This is a major problem.

“It’s more important, and you know, people won’t accept this from me, it’s more important than the National Health Service, I’m sorry.”

(Times Radio)
Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 10:00


Campaigners prepare to launch new four-day working week pilot

The pilot – which will also look at other flexible working policies such as compressed hours and a shorter working week – will report its findings to the government in the summer next year.

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 09:53


Braverman branded ‘not credible’ over her overtures to Nigel Farage

Tories have slammed Suella Braverman after she repeatedly called Reform and Nigel Farage to join forces with the Tories and ruling out defecting herself.

Senior Conservative Lord Houchen said the former home secretary was “not credible” and warned if she became leader “we can absolutely see ourselves in opposition for generations to come”.

It comes as shadow home secretary James Cleverly warned against “bitter infighting” and urged the Tories to “get their act together”.

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 09:39


James Cartlidge: Tories should take our time to choose next leader

Shadow defence secretary James Cartlidge has said the Tories should not rush into an early leadership contest and “take our time” to replace Rishi Sunak.

He told Sky News: “I think the view of colleagues is that we, within reason, we want to take our time, make sure we make the right decision.”

The Tory MP said after the party’s bruising election loss, voters “will expect us to reflect, to look at what happened”.

Mr Cartlidge added: “People were exasperated. But they want to see us take the time to make the right decisions so that our new leader has a positive alternative to Labour come the next general election.”

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 09:34


Lib Dem MP ‘kicked out of seat’ because of Reform’s Nigel Farage

A newly elected MP has complained he was ordered out of his seat after Nigel Farage turned up late to his first session in parliament.

Lib Dem Al Pinkerton said the Reform UK leader had been “enjoying the hospitality” instead of taking his place in the chamber on Tuesday. 

After Mr Farage appeared, he was allowed to address fellow MPs but all the seats were taken. Mr Pinkerton claimed he was ordered to get up by whips and give up his seat to the right-wing politician.

Posting on X, he said: “I was very comfortable in a seat right at the back of the chamber when Nigel Farage turned up rather late to the occasion. We got been there for quite some time gathering and I had to move.

“I had to give up my seat for Nigel Farage. He had obviously been enjoying the hospitality of the tearooms in the House of Commons prior to coming along. And so one point of note, sadly, I had to give up my seat at the request of, of the whips as he needed a microphone to to give his speech.“

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 09:27


Watch: Tory MPs claim plot to stitch up leadership contest amid 1922 vote row

Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 09:25


Badenoch frontrunner to replace Rishi Sunak, poll suggests

With the leadership campaign yet to kick off, Kemi Badenoch is the frontrunner among the Conservatives to be the next party leader, new polling revealed.

A YouGov survey from the Party Members Project run out of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Sussex University said the shadow minister has 31 per cent of the support.

She was followed by Suella Braverman with 16 per cent of the votes and Tom Tughendat with 15 per cent.

(AFP via Getty Images)
Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 09:11


Starmer sends Southgate message from Nato ahead of England game

Sir Keir Starmer could miss the England’s Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands tonight as he is in the middle of Nato meetings in the US.

The prime minister, who is a keen football fan, said he fears he will miss the game and hopes officials will pass him scraps of paper to keep up with the score.

He said: “I’ve sent a message to the team, obviously I wish them well, I want them to win, and let’s hope they can do it.”

The PM gave manager Gareth Southgate a simple piece of advice: “Win.”

(Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
Salma Ouaguira10 July 2024 09:05