Labour tell LFF: "Plans for Britain's future defence and security should not be in the hands of a political adviser."
Campaigners have expressed major concern after leaked correspondence revealed that Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings will tour some of Britain’s most highly classified national security sites, as part of a plan to radically shake up the military.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Cummings has requested visits to five classified sites, include the highly classified Special Boat Service based at Poole in Dorset, the SAS headquarters in Hereford, the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in Salisbury which researches chemical weapons and pathogens, the Rapid Capabilities Office at Farnborough and the defense intelligence unit at Wyton.
According to the document obtained by Australian papers the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Cummings has visited MI5 and MI6 twice already. “It certainly makes a change from touring Barnard Castle,” Jack Blanchard from Politico noted.
It comes amid growing fears of the government’s handling of the civil service and the military, following the recent ousting of National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill and plans for centralisation of all government communications. It also comes after Tory MP Mark Francois told military top brass on Wednesday that Dominic Cummings will ‘sort you out’.
One former government aide was reported as saying the latest revelations represent “the Dom Cummings dick-waving tour.”
Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey told Left Foot Forward: “Ministers call this the biggest defence review since the Cold War, yet it seems the MoD is a by-stander. Plans for Britain’s future defence and security should not be in the hands of a political adviser. We need a full assessment and wide debate about the threats the UK faces, led by military specialists.”
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade added: “The involvement of Cummings will undoubtedly be scrutinised and questioned, but so should the government’s approach to foreign policy and security.
“All too often, UK policy has been based on bloated military spending, international aggression and hypocritical and damaging relationships with despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers. This review should be treated as an opportunity to move on from the failed policies of the past.”
Josiah Mortimer is co-editor of Left Foot Forward.
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