Wallace: Ukraine Should Show “Gratitude” for War Support

A prickly Ben Wallace has told Ukraine to show “gratitude” to its Western allies for their continued support in the war effort, after President Zelenskyy expressed disappointment at NATO’s reluctance to fast-track Ukraine’s membership to the alliance this week. Speaking to reporters in Vilnius today, the Defence Secretary vented his frustration, insisting Britain is “not Amazon” despite its backing against Russian aggression:

“Sometimes you have to persuade lawmakers on the Hill in America, you have to persuade doubting politicians in other countries that, you know, that is worth it, that it is worthwhile and that they are getting something for it. And whether you like it or not, that’s the reality of it… Sometimes you would hear grumbles not from the administration in the American system, but you would hear them from lawmakers on the Hill … We’ve given $83 billion worth or whatever, we are not Amazon… I told them that last year, when I drove 11 hours to be given a list…  There’s a slight word of caution here which is, whether you like it or not people want to see gratitude…”

An unusually testy statement, especially from the Defence Secretary of a country that often touts its “unwavering support”…

UPDATE: Rishi says Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have shown gratitude after all:

“I know him and his people are incredibly grateful for the support the UK has shown, the welcome we’ve provided to many Ukrainian families, and the leadership we’ve shown throughout this conflict…”

He didn’t have much to say about Wallace’s “Amazon” jibe…

mdi-timer 12 July 2023 @ 14:14 12 Jul 2023 @ 14:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Wallace Admits He’s Eyeing NATO Chief Job

Ben Wallace has admitted what just about everyone in SW1 already suspected: he’s eyeing up Jens Stoltenberg’s job as NATO Secretary General. Stoltenberg is due to step down in September, with NATO states set to appoint his successor soon. Now Wallace has made it clear he’s thinking of giving it a go…

Speaking to German news agency DPA in Berlin this afternoon, Wallace said:

“I’ve always said it would be a good job. That’s a job I’d like. But I’m also loving the job I do now. I mean, to be Defence Secretary of the British Government at a time of reform and investment, just like Boris Pistorius… [NATO General Secretary] is a fantastic job and Nato is an incredibly important part of all our securities.”

Taking the job in September would lead to a by-election in his Wyre and Preston North constituency. Although that’s being chopped up at the next election anyway…

mdi-timer 18 May 2023 @ 16:37 18 May 2023 @ 16:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Wallace: “Just Bollocks” to Claim UK Not Ready to Take Over NATO Rapid Reaction Force

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace gave a traditionally forthright set of interviews this morning, at one point describing allegations that NATO has asked Germany to remain in charge of their rapid-reaction force due to UK forces being overstretched as “just bollocks”. Not often you hear that on BBC Breakfast…

The claim was first made by Table.Media, a German media outlet, before being picked up in this weekend’s Mail on Sunday:

“The information service said Nato had expressed concerns that the UK would not be able to take over command of the unit by the deadline of January 1, 2024, and had informally asked the Bundeswehr – the German military – if it would continue to lead it in 2024 instead.”

In response, Ben Wallace says NATO leadership did not approach anybody, the UK is taking over the VJTF as scheduled and the claim is based on reports “from a German website you and I have never heard of”. He was quite open about making a case to the Treasury for “some money” to battle inflation, though didn’t admit the reported figure of £10 billion needed…

Also eyebrow-raising was Wallace’s response to being asked whether he’d like to be the next NATO Secretary General:

“Being Defence Secretary is a great job, though not good for the hairline”

The response is being widely interpreted as a great big ‘yes please’.

Why ever could he be wanting an escape route…

mdi-timer 15 February 2023 @ 08:48 15 Feb 2023 @ 08:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Shadow Foreign Secretary Rebrands NATO

Speaking on LBC this morning – ahead of his speech at Chatham House this lunchtime – Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy boasted about Labour’s record on the world stage:

“Labour are one of the founding parties of the North Atlantic Trade Alliance”

From a man who went on Celebrity Mastermind and when asked who succeeded King Henry VIII answered “Henry VII”. Britain will be in safe hands with Sir Keir’s government…

mdi-timer 24 January 2023 @ 11:30 24 Jan 2023 @ 11:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rees-Mogg Right to Say Putin Backed Anti-Fracking Campaigns

Already Labour MPs are up in arms over Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claim just now that some of the opposition to fracking has been funded by the Kremlin. According to Ed Miliband, it’s an “absolutely outrageous slur” that’s “shameful and disgraceful“. Opposition backbenchers could barely believe their ears either. If it’s so shameful and disgraceful, perhaps they should direct their outrage at Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the respected former chief of NATO…

Here’s what Rasmussen said as far back as 2014 when the former Prime Minister of Denmark was NATO secretary-general:

“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.”

Inevitably Rees-Mogg’s comments will fill plenty of column inches in the very same newspaper over the next few days. Presumably they’ll be just as furious with Rasmussen…

mdi-timer 22 September 2022 @ 13:00 22 Sep 2022 @ 13:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris: UK to Spend 2.5% of GDP on Defence by 2030

Boris at the NATO conference in Madrid today confirming the UK will raise its defence spending from 2% to 2.5% of GDP, although only by the end of the decade…

mdi-timer 30 June 2022 @ 12:55 30 Jun 2022 @ 12:55 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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