No defence

IT does not matter whether the £40m paid out to officials at the Ministry of Defence is classed as a "bonus" or "performance-related pay" – there is absolutely no justification for these payouts that are, frankly, an insult.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, why should the MoD's career bureaucrats, many of whom are well-remunerated, be rewarded when there is no bonus structure in place for soldiers serving on the frontline in Afghanistan, and with inadequate equipment?

And, secondly, David Cameron made a point, as last autumn's Comprehensive Spending Review reached its denouement, of pointing out that he was shocked by the scale of financial mismanagement at the Ministry.

This assertion, and there has been no evidence to contradict the Prime Minister, makes the bonus revelations even more shocking. These are precisely the type of payments that Mr Cameron abhorred when in opposition. Now, as his spending cuts bite, he must ensure, that public servants are never rewarded for failure on his watch.