On the same day that the Liberal Democrats have announced a manifesto commitment to the NATO 2% defence spending target, former party Leader Paddy Ashdown has launched a petition to stop further cuts to the Royal Marines in which he served.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said,
‘In an uncertain and volatile world, it’s our Armed Forces that keep us safe and allow us to play our part in creating a more stable international community.
“Our service personnel are the best in the world. And it’s right that we reward them fairly and make sure that they have the right equipment to do the job.
“So today, our party is proud to commit to NATO’s defence spending target. For all their rhetoric, the crisis in recruitment and their botched defence review show that the Conservatives have let our Armed Forces down.
“The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can challenge the Conservatives and stand up for strong Armed Forces, fit for the 21st century.”
Former Royal Marine and Lib Dem peer Paddy Ashdown said,
“In an unpredictable age, we need forces that are fast, flexible and mobile. That's what the Royal Marines do at a world-class level. But the government has just announced damaging cuts of 200 marines, with no assurance that there won’t be more cuts in the future.
"The Royal Marines have carried the greatest burden in the defence of our country over the last decade - they have fought in more theatres and won more battles than any other British unit. They are also the crucial manpower pool from which we draw many of our Special Forces. We need them as never before.
“I urge everyone who cares about this proud and illustrious unit and the nation’s defence to add their voice to my call for 'NO FURTHER CUTS TO THE ROYAL MARINES' at www.saveroyalmarines.org."