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'DAVID CAMERON MUST "PUT MONEY WHERE HIS MOUTH IS" ON DEFENCE, SENIOR TORIES MPs WARN' [EXTRACT]

David Cameron warned that Britain's special relationship with the US will be put at risk unless he commits to spending 2 per cent of Britain's national income on defence.

By Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor

Telegraph Online – 25 May 2015

David Cameron must put his "money where his mouth is" and commit to spending 2 per cent of Britain's national income on Defence, senior Tory MPs vying to run one of Parliament's most powerful select committees have warned. All three Tory MPs who are running to be the Chairman of the influential Defence Select Committee have warned that Britain's international reputation will be diminished if Mr Cameron fails to make the commitment.

Julian Lewis, one of the candidates, said:

"My concern is that during the Cold War years we used to spend between 4 and 5 per cent of GDP on the Defence Budget. Then we had the ending of the Cold War and the taking of the peace dividend but even then we always stayed above the 2 per cent on Defence. Since then we have had the rise of global jihadism and more recently Russia has turned back into a more confrontational direction.

"The idea when we should be struggling to reach the 2 per cent minimum when we should be exceeding it is a scandal. I'm afraid what tends to happen is the politicians like to talk big on the international stage but they don't like to put their money where their mouth is."

British Defence chiefs have been furiously lobbying the Tories to make the commitment amid fears for Britain’s military capability and status as a global power. Barack Obama and the head of the US Army have also urged David Cameron to commit to the spending target amid concerns that failing to so do so could set a damaging example to other European countries.

Mr Cameron, however, refused to put the pledge in the Conservative's manifesto and the party has instead postponed a decision until the spending review later this year. The failure to make the commitment comes even though Mr Cameron last year used a NATO summit in Wales to urge other European members of the military alliance to meet the 2 per cent standard ...