FACT CHECK: Conservative Party Claims Labour Party Does Not Have A Defense Plan

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

The U.K. Conservative Party claimed May 14 that the U.K. Labour Party does not have a defense plan.

Verdict: Misleading

Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader has said the party would raise defense spending to 2.5% of GDP “as soon as resources allow.” The Labour Party also says a “strong national defence [sic]” is one of its “missions.”

Fact Check:

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attacked Starmer over defense spending, claiming that he would make the country less safe, according to BBC News.

The Conservative Party said in a May 14 tweet that they were “increasing defence spending to 2.5% by 2030 securing Britain’s place as the biggest defence power in Europe and second only to the US in NATO” before claiming that Labour had no plan to defend the UK.

“Labour can’t say what they’ll do because they have no plan to defend our country,” the party tweeted.

This claim is misleading. Starmer said on April 12, a month before the Conservatives’ tweet, that Labour Party would raise defense spending to 2.5% of the U.K’s GDP “as soon as resources allow,” according to Reuters.

“”In the face of rising global threats and growing Russian aggression, Labour’s commitment to our UK nuclear deterrent is total,” Starmer also said.

John Healy, the Shadow Defense Secretary and a Member of Parliament, said that Labour would raise defense spending to 2.5% of GDP in a May 8 tweet.

“Labour is totally committed to 2.5% of GDP on defence. When Labour was last in Government, we were spending 2.5% of GDP on defence. A level that’s never been matched in the 14 Tory years since,” Healy tweeted.

Healy also wrote in a Labour List article that the party  is “totally committed to 2.5% and we want a plan that is fully-funded in Government baseline budgets – our Forces deserve nothing less” and expanded on Labour Party’s defense plans.

Healy wrote that Labour would:

  • “reinforce homeland protections with a new strategic review;
  • fulfil NATO obligations in full with a NATO test on our major programmes;
  • renew the nation’s contract with those who serve with an independent forces commissioner;
  • make allies our strategic strength with new German, French and EU defence agreements;
  • direct British defence investment first to British jobs with deep defence procurement reform.”

Labour Party’s website says it is “committed to strengthening our national defences and supporting our heroic armed forces.” (RELATED: Biden Makes Claims About His Life In Howard Stern Interview)

Its website states that it “will”:

  • “Maintain an unshakeable commitment to NATO and our nuclear deterrent.
  • Conduct a Strategic Defence and Security Review in our first year in government to fully understand the state of our Armed Forces, the nature of threats we face and the capabilities needed.
  • Labour will tackle the poor state of service accommodation to ensure homes are fit for heroes, having commissioned the independent Kerslake review of military housing to help draw up plans in Government.
  • Legislate to establish an Armed Forces Commissioner as a strong independent voice to improve service life.”

Check Your Fact reached out to the Conservative Party and Labour Party for comment.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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