Defence budget in danger of becoming too low, warns Dominic Grieve


Britain risks spending too little on defence, according to the chairman of Parliament's powerful Intelligence and Security Committee.

Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve said the Government has put "quite a lot" of investment into the intelligence services in recent years.

But he noted there are some defence areas which he worries are "well below" what he would like to see for the country.

The Government has pledged to spend at least 2% of national income on defence until 2020, with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon previously denying officials will "cook the books" to meet the Nato-set target.

Asked if he was satisfied with intelligence spending being regarded as part of the defence budget, Mr Grieve told Pienaar's Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Do I have views about whether we're spending enough money on defence as a Conservative Member of Parliament? I worry very much that our defence budget overall is in danger of becoming too low.

"This is an extremely difficult problem for this Government, and indeed for any government that would be in power.

"We have commitments, for example, for overseas aid, which is very important and certainly helping provide relief in the Middle East.

"We're spending £1 billion in the Syrian area helping refugees - I very much welcome that.

"But the truth is we are in a time when all budgets are constrained and clearly the strategic defence review is going to be a very important document in trying to plot what the United Kingdom should be doing about its overall defence position, and there are some areas where I worry very much as a Conservative Member of Parliament that we are well below where I would wish to see us in terms of our defence position."