Would Dannatt work for a Tory Government? “Theoretically, yes”

General Sir Richard Dannatt, former head of the armed forces, refuses to rule out working for a future Conservative government.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, recently retired head of the armed forces, has refused to rule out working for a future Conservative government.

Following an interview this morning on BBC Radio 5Live, in response to a question from author and former soldier Steven McLaughlin asking whether he would consider “returning to the colours” as Defence Secretary in the House of Lords, he said:

The answer is, theoretically, yes.

“No one’s asked me that question. That question has not been put in a public way and I am getting on with being constable of the Tower of London”

Listen to the exchange in full below:

Yesterday Sir Richard, in an interview with The Sun, criticised the Government for forcing the army to fight “with one arm tied behind their backs” – a result, he alleges, of Whitehall’s refusal to send an extra 2,000 troops to Afghanistan.

He said:

“If you’re going to conduct an operation, you’re doing it for one reason – to succeed.”

UPDATE 1:43

BREAKING NEWS: The wires are all reporting David Cameron’s appointment of General Dannatt to his defence team. More from Sky, the Guardian, the Telegraph and Reuters.

UPDATE II: 2:16

BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson blogs on the muddled state of Chris Grayling’s mind. Pressed by his colleague Emily Maitlis to comment on Sir Richard’s appointment by the Tories, the Shadow Home Secretary said:

“I admire the work of General Dannatt and other senior generals who’ve done so much in Afghanistan and done so much to lead. I hope that this isn’t a political gimmick. We’ve seen too many appointments in this government of external people where it’s all been about Gordon Brown’s PR.

“General Dannatt’s an experienced figure and should rightly be working alongside government. I’m always suspicious of government’s motives when he does things like this.”

Left Foot Forward wonders whether Mr Grayling’s been at the super-strength cider again…

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