There is considerable confusion in the Cabinet this morning over Dave’s defence spending promise. “No more defence cuts” booms the front page of the Telegraph, reporting that the PM has guaranteed defence spending will rise above inflation. Philip Hammond has other ideas however, telling Sky:
“I think what the Prime Minister was referring to was the pledge that was made – which Treasury ministers have repeated – that the equipment plan, the part of the defence budget which funds equipment, will rise by 1 per cent a year in real-terms after 2015. I don’t expect to be exempt.”
Which leaves us in a somewhat perverse situation:
A most extraordinary morning. A PM offering to exempt MoD from new cuts, and a Defence Secretary refusing to accept it.
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 31, 2013
Labour spinners are jumping on this as a pretty blatant example of less than joined-up government. So Dave, which is it?