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Tories: 'service personnel feeling under-equipped and undervalued'

(BBC, 1 March 2010) The Conservative party has led a debate on the government's record on defence, accusing the prime minister of showing an "instinctive lack of interest" in the armed forces.

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox, opening the debate on 1 March 2010, told MPs that defence and security was being run "on a wing and a prayer", claiming that a "long litany of failures" had left service personnel feeling under-equipped and undervalued.

Dr Fox laid much of the blame with Gordon Brown, who he said was "never willing to fully fund Tony Blair's wars".

But Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth rejected the claims, insisting that spending on defence had grown in real terms and saying individual soldiers in Afghanistan are "better equipped than ever before".

Mr Ainsworth said the government was proud of its record and accused the Tories of "misleading and inaccurate" suggestions that the defence budget had been cut.

For the Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie said the Tories had been "joined at the hip" with Labour on defence policy for the past 13 years.

But he claimed that defence was "one of the biggest failures" for the government, in policy terms, during that period.

 

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