Rishi Sunak warned not to put lives at risk by cutting defence budget

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RISHI Sunak was last night warned not to endanger lives by balancing the books on the back of the defence budget.

The new PM is considering ripping up plans to hike MoD spending to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030 as he takes an axe to public spending.

But senior Tories say this would undermine our ability to stand up “look Vladimir Putin in the eye” and take him on over the invasion of Ukraine.

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence select committee, said: “We are in very dangerous times.

“The security situation is far worse than in the Cold War when we spent 4 per cent of our GDP on defence.

“We have to think carefully about how we defend Britain and our interests, and our role on the international stage.

“What is Britain? We are leaders. We are the nation that steps forward and does not hesitate. 

“How can we do that if we don’t have the military hardware?”

Britain’s economic security relies on the ability of our troops to protect us and our Allies, the senior Tory warned.

He said: “There are many reasons that come together and say we must spend more money on defence – it is not just about how big our Army and Navy are. It is about our economic security.

“Look at Russia and Ukraine. That invasion has sent energy and food prices soaring.

“If we sort that out it will have a huge impact on our global economy.

“It is all very well looking at spreadsheets but we must protect ourselves.”

Liz Truss had promised to whack defence spending up to 3 per cent of our national income by 2030 to face down the growing threats posed by Russia and China.

But Rishi has refused to commit to the target since he moved into No10.

Military top brass are having to endure nearly £2billion of cuts over the next two years because rocketing inflation is swallowing up so much of its cash.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and the PM will hold crunch talks about the money before the delayed Halloween Budget on November 17.

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