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JEREMY HUNT’S plans to spend £15 billion extra on defence over five years if he becomes the next prime minister would only make the world more dangerous, a peace group said today.
The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) is accusing the Foreign Secretary of prioritising the militarist lobby in the Conservative Party over global security.
Tory leadership contender Mr Hunt announced his military spending plans today but did not say where the funds would come from, except for a reference to “economic growth.”
PPU pointed out that Britain already has the seventh highest military expenditure in the world, and that Mr Hunt “appeared to have learnt nothing” from wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, having hinted that Britain could join a US attack on Iran.
The network’s campaigns manager Symon Hill said: “If you’re struggling to pay the bills, queueing at a foodbank or waiting months for a hospital appointment, Jeremy Hunt offers to make your life more secure with bombs and aircraft carriers.
“Hunt talks about his respect for the armed forces while 13,000 veterans are homeless in the UK after years of cuts to public services and the welfare state.
“But Hunt can find £15bn from the magic money tree to please the militarist lobby, whose demands have no connection with most people’s everyday needs.”
In the Commons, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry called on Mr Hunt to commission an independent public inquiry into arms sales to Saudi Arabia suspected to have been used against Yemen.
It follows last week’s court of appeal verdict that continuing to license military equipment for export to Saudi Arabia is unlawful.
Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan denied that the court ruled the arms sales unlawful, and added that it “criticised an aspect of process which we are studying very closely and will address.”
The sales met the “most rigorous rules,” he also claimed.
Ms Thornberry responded added: “They haven’t met the most rigorous rules, that’s the whole point.
“He knows that there are men in this chamber and beyond, ministers who ignored the evidence of risk to innocent civilians, guilty men, ministers who signed off the export of arms which [has] now been found to be unlawful.
“Two of the men responsible for those decisions are the candidates to be our next prime minister.”
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