UK needs to ‘take lessons’ from ‘very impressive’ Macron

Ukraine: Ben Wallace says Putin ‘is losing’

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The Ministry of Defence has been told it needs to “take lessons” from its allies across the Chanel, with an expert describing the French armed forces as being “very impressive”. Defence analyst Nicholas Drummond praised Emmanuel Macron’s army, advising UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to take note. This comes as the British Army has been under mounting scrutiny in the wake of long-term budget cuts and the war in Ukraine.

While Mr Drummond admitted that the French army also has “real holes”, he said the UK could learn a lot from their military.

He told the Daily Express: “What France is doing in defence is very impressive. They are spending their money very well.

“But that does not hide the fact that they too have real holes. So air power, they have holes. sea power, they have holes.”

He added: “We do need to take lessons from the French Ministry of Defence. They could really teach us how to use our money more efficiently.”

Last month, a senior US general told Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that the British Army is no longer regarded as a top-level fighting force, defence sources said.

One source told Sky that decades of cuts have left the British military “unable to protect the UK and our allies”.

The sources said Rishi Sunak risks failing in his role as “wartime Prime Minister” unless he takes urgent action in the face of the mounting threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

One source said: “We have a wartime Prime Minister and a wartime Chancellor.

“History will look back at the choices they make in the coming weeks as fundamental to whether this government genuinely believes that its primary duty is the defence of the realm or whether that is just a slogan to be given lip service.”

European powers such as France and Germany have announced plans to boost defence spending significantly following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

Mr Sunak is yet to make a meaningful pledge to boost the UK’s defence budget, instead planning to publish a review of defence policy on March 7 ahead of the spring budget.

The MoD is said to be expecting a £10bn boost to its spending power in the spring budget, but Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood told the Daily Express that the cash injection would barely touch the sides.

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The former soldier said that amount will plug the hole caused by inflation but he warned that it is “not enough to strengthen our security and meet new NATO requirements”.

Meanwhile, former Tory Party leader Ian Duncan Smith said that the Army “absolutely needs more money”. He said the MoD needs support for its ailing tank fleet and limited numbers of aircraft.

Sir Iain explained: “We’ve gone too far with the reduction in our army.

“We have real problems now with the tank fleet, issues with one of the aircraft carriers. We’ve got a tiny number of aircraft – it’s ridiculous now that we’ve got so few aircraft.

“The war in Ukraine has demonstrated just how important it is for us to be ready for war. We’re not ready for war in the way that we’d need to be.”

Sir Iain added: “The Prime Minister gets it, he understands it and I hope the Chancellor now understands it too.

“Ukraine has exposed all of the NATO nations to the prospect of war.

“It has exposed the complete fallacy that there will not be a war on the continent in Europe.”

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