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Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Sunday, 13 June 2010 13:06 UK

Liam Fox refuses to rule out troop cut

Dr Liam Fox
Liam Fox, Defence Secretary, will outline his defence review plans

The Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, has refused to rule out cutting troop numbers as part of the defence review.

Dr Fox told the Politics Show that the review will mark a "step change" in Britain's military stance.

He said it will result in changes to the shape and size of the armed forces.

Speaking to Jon Sopel, Dr Fox did rule out reviewing the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system or the forces' non-contributory pension scheme.

Dr Fox told the Politics Show:

"It may be the case that there are some functions we need less of and some we need more of, so it's very unlikely that any of the services will look exactly the same after the review.

"If you have a review, you don't simply say 'I am going to rule X, Y or Z out in advance."


He revealed that agreement had been reached at the MoD for all staff - including generals - to stop using first-class transport at the taxpayer's expense.

This is a move he has previously described as "politically correct nonsense".

Certain personnel in the armed forces receive a grant to cover the cost of private education for forces' children. This is estimated to cost the MOD £180m per year.

The Defence Secretary confirmed that this would also be included in the review.

Stirrup not sacked

Dr Fox also insisted that the current Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Jock Stirrup was not fired.

He said: "I think it would be very wrong to use terms like 'axed'. This was a very very amicable discussion that was had and it was about what was best for the department."

Asked by Jon Sopel whether he sought to dissuade them from standing down, the Defence Secretary said:

"It wasn't a question of people coming to discuss the date of the departure it was a fact that they were already there beyond the terms of their original contract.

"It was about what was best for the armed forces. The logical time was at the end of the review and I'm grateful for that."

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