UK to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP, Boris Johnson announces

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference at the Nato summit in Madrid, SpainPrime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference at the Nato summit in Madrid, Spain
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference at the Nato summit in Madrid, Spain
The UK will increase its spending on defence to 2.5 per cent of GDP by the end of this decade, Boris Johnson has announced.

Speaking at the end of the Nato conference in Madrid, he described the alliance as “united” and “in robust health”, but said that “myths” about the role of the organisation in the Ukraine conflict need to be debunked following the Russian invasion and subsequent price increases across the globe.

The UK has already committed a further £1billion to the war effort, with the promise of extra military support for Ukraine.

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Speaking in Madrid this afternoon, the Prime Minister said: “We need to invest for the long-term in vital capabilities like future combat air whilst simultaneously adapting to a more dangerous and more competitive world.

“The logical conclusion of the investments on which we propose to embark, these decisions, is that we’ll reach 2.5 per cent of GDP on defence by the end of the decade.”

The level of spending on defence has been the source of a row between No 10 and the military, with calls for extra funding for UK forces to meet increased demands as a result of the instability caused by Russia’s actions.

Having attended a number of international conferences in the last week, Mr Johnson described the impact of the invasion as habing been felt around the world, with the Commonwealth, the G7 and Nato “determined to work together to ease the pressure around the world”.

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But he warned that the West needed to “explode some myths” about its role in the conflict.

“We have to explode the myths of Western sanctions are in some way responsible for western price spikes.

“It is the Russian invasion that has caused the shortages of food.”

He said it was a “myth” that Nato had responsibility for provoking the conflict, pointing to the “peace-loving” nations of Finland and Sweden joining the organisation.

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Meanwhile the UK is deploying two experts to Bosnia and Herzegovina to counter Russia’s destabilising influence there.

At the request of Nato headquarters in Sarajevo, a UK military counter-disinformation expert and a civilian strategic defence adviser will be deployed to support and train the Bosnia and Herzegovinian Armed Forces.

The Prime Minister said: “We cannot allow the western Balkans to become another playground for Putin’s pernicious pursuits.

“By fanning the flames of secessionism and sectarianism Russia seeks to reverse the gains of the last three decades in Bosnia and Herzegovina, gains that have brought more stability to our whole continent.”

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