‘Deeply concerned’ General Sir Patrick Sanders could leave his role in protest in major blow to MoD
Now fears emerge that Army chief could QUIT unless planned defence cuts are reversed: ‘Deeply concerned’ General Sir Patrick Sanders could leave his role in protest in major blow to MoD
- Gen Sir Patrick recently warned that the war in Ukraine has left the Army weaker
- He said future cuts to the Army were ‘perverse’ and the force needed to grow
Friends of Army chief General Sir Patrick Sanders say he may quit in protest unless planned defence cuts are reversed.
Gen Sir Patrick, the Chief of the General Staff, is said to be ‘deeply concerned’ about the Army’s operational capability after decades of cuts.
Senior officials in the Ministry of Defence fear that unless the Treasury gives a cast-iron undertaking that defence spending will increase, he may view his position as untenable.
Gen Sir Patrick, 56, recently warned that the war in Ukraine has left the Army weaker and that ‘three decades of disinvestment’ has led to troops working with outdated equipment.
He said future cuts to the Army were ‘perverse’ and that the force needed to grow. Now friends and colleagues have revealed he may be ‘forced to consider his position’ unless more cash is forthcoming.
Gen Sir Patrick, the Chief of the General Staff, is said to be ‘deeply concerned’ about the Army’s operational capability after decades of cuts
The disclosure will be a significant blow for Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who may also be forced to resign if one of his service chiefs quits over cuts.
One friend and former colleague described Gen Sir Patrick as a person with ‘flawless integrity’.
The source added: ‘Paddy is not the sort of person to start thumping a table and make threats about quitting, but he will have drawn a line in the sand and said to himself, ‘This far and no further,’ and Ben Wallace knows that. It is hard to remember when the Army has been in a worse state.
Recruitment is down, housing problems and poor pay are undermining morale, and there is a widely held belief that the Army is the poor relation of the three armed services, and has suffered significantly while the RAF and the Royal Navy have both prospered.’
While the RAF has been equipped with F-35 combat aircraft and the Royal Navy two multi-billion-pound aircraft carriers, the Army is being supplied with 150 tanks and updated Apache helicopters.
Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed Nato chiefs fear Britain’s military forces are so overstretched they are not fit to be on the front line against Russia.
Gen Sanders is one of the most experienced senior officers in the Armed Forces and his recent comments have raised eyebrows at the MoD and fuelled speculation he may quit.
But a colleague said: ‘I can understand the sentiment but I don’t think he would walk. He probably feels that it is better to be inside the tent than outside. I should imagine that he feels that he can do more by staying in post than by resigning. But if he does walk there will not be a threat. That’s not his style.’
The MoD is facing the worst leadership crisis for 20 years. Then, all three chiefs considered resigning because of cuts by Chancellor Gordon Brown.
He said future cuts to the Army were ‘perverse’ and that the force needed to grow
An MoD spokesman said: ‘The Defence Secretary has made clear for years now about the need to modernise our Army to ensure it keeps pace with our allies.
‘That’s why at the spending review in 2020 he achieved an extra £16 billion… Reinvesting, learning lessons from Ukraine and growing industrial skills takes time.
‘We are on track to start to see new tanks, personnel carriers and air defence systems by the year after next.’