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Archbishop warns defence cuts risk UK's safety

The Archbishop of York has warned that severe defence cuts in Britain will "risk the safety of the nation and the peace of the world".

While delivering his Christmas message to armed forces serving overseas, Dr John Sentamu said Government plans to replace thousands of full-time soldiers with reservists was a bad idea as a "very well trained, professional service" needed to be maintained.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu has issued a warning over defence cuts Credit: ITV News

He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service, "My greatest anxiety ... is that these defence cuts need to be done with far, far greater sensitivity because we live still in a world that is very fragile and there are people out there still, wanting to do harm to ... many, many people".

"To replace professionally-trained, full-time serving soldiers with part-timers, I'm afraid, for me, I don't think that can be the backbone of the British Army," the Archbishop continued.

He also paid tribute to the British forces' role as peacekeepers in Afghanistan, calling them "the bravest of the brave", and said he prayed daily for them.

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1,000 celebrate at Whitby Abbey

More than 1,000 people have celebrated the birth of the Christian Church with the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu and the Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Rev Dr Martin Warner the ruins of Whitby Abbey.

It is believed to be the first time an archbishop and a bishop have jointly hosted a service at the abbey since its destruction in The Reformation. The archbishop arrived in the harbour below the Abbey in the RNLI Trent-class lifeboat, George and Mary Webb.

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