"David Cameron To Use British Troops At Home".

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"David Cameron To Use British Troops At Home".

Post by 1916 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:22 pm


Launching his party’s national security strategy, Mr Cameron indicated he would draw a line under Labour’s foreign policy and the interventionist wars launched by Tony Blair.

He also promised to designate a number of troops as reserved for “homeland defence” operations at home. A new Permanent Military Command for Homeland Defence and Security would to oversee the Armed Forces’ contribution to domestic emergencies and counter-terrorism work.

The strategy sketched out on Friday suggests that a Conservative government would focus more on domestic security than on foreign wars, not least because of the need to make deep cuts in spending on defence.

Criticising Labour over the handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr Cameron said: “We've got to think through much more carefully whether Britain should get involved in a foreign conflict, and if so, how to cope with the consequences.”

In another move away from an interventionist foreign policy, the strategy paper talks of “upholding our own values, not by imposing them on others but by being an inspiring example of them ourselves.”

Baroness Neville-Jones, the shadow security minister who wrote the strategy paper, said that a Tory government would not continue Labour’s approach to overseas missions.

“We need to approach these things differently, because exercising power in the world in that way is unsustainable,” she said. “We are not a superpower. At the moment is we are overtaxing our resources.”

As the Daily Telegraph reported, the Conservative strategy sets out plans to use money from the overseas aid budget to fund military operations.

The Conservatives are committed to increasing the international development budget to meet a United Nations target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national product on aid.

But with the public finances under extreme pressure the Tories said they would use money from the Department for International Development to fund a new Stabilisation and Reconstruction Force of regular and reservist soldiers who would specialise in rebuilding infrastructure after conflicts.

The pledge was criticised by charities. Save the Children warned that diverting money from aid to the military “dangerously muddles up security and development goals, increasing the risks facing development and humanitarian workers in conflict situations."

Mr Cameron insisted that he would abide by international rules on counting spending towards the 0.7 per cent target, said that he would not “abuse” the aid budget.

The strategy paper also says that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and DFID should work more closely on a “shared agenda,” a pledge that may be seen as an attempt to put the development department under FCO control.

Tory insiders said there have been tensions over the strategy’s implications for DFID.

Andrew Mitchell, the shadow development secretary, did not attend the launch of the strategy paper in London. Mr Cameron said he was absent because he was in Birmingham. In fact, Mr Mitchell was in London at the time.
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