Brown pledges closer links with Paris

By politics.co.uk staff

Closer military links will France will form an important part of the government green paper on the future of the armed forces.

The prime minister will also use the publication of the green paper to pledge a new generation of warships and fast jets.

A total of £1.5 billion will be secured for the ongoing war in Afghanistan and defence will be ringfenced against spending cuts next year, according to the Times.

His pledges mean two 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers – totalling £5 billion – will get the go-ahead and that troop levels will remain at over 100,000.

Ministers were keen to insist the UK’s traditional alliance with America will remain firm, but the inclusion of a consolidated French relationship shows the government is increasingly adopting a two-way relationship to east and west.

The plans are similar to the thinking of shadow defence secretary Liam Fox, who said Paris and Washington would be the two most strategic relationships for a Conservative government.

France and the UK are the only two countries in the EU which spend over two per cent of national income on defence.