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MoD hits back at top general's comments on Army cuts

The Ministry of Defence has hit back after one of Britain's most senior generals warned Government cuts will damage the Army in the long term.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said:

The UK maintains some of the very finest and best equipped armed forces, underpinned by the world's fourth largest defence budget.

With a restructured, more flexible and agile Army and with £160 billion planned on new equipment over the next decade we will ensure our armed forces retain their formidable range.

Hammond dismisses Army cuts criticism as 'nonsense'

The Defence Secretary has dismissed much of the criticism levelled against the Government on Army cuts as "nonsense".

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Philip Hammond said: "We still have the fourth largest defence budget in the world.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond on The Andrew Marr Show.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond on The Andrew Marr Show. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

"I was in the Pentagon just this week past, I heard my US counterpart talk about Britain as a credible, capable and reliable ally and that's what we intend to remain.

"Of course we've had to make savings, of course we've had to make some very tough decisions, ... but we're looking to the future not the past."

Mr Hammond's comments followed General Sir Richard Shirreff's comments that the restructuring of the Army is "one hell of a risk" that will weaken the armed forces around the world.

Top general warns Army cuts are 'one hell of a risk'

Restructuring the Army is "one hell of a risk" that will weaken the armed forces, one of Britain's most senior generals has warned.

The Government is cutting the regular Army from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.

General Officer Commanding, Major General Richard Shirreff pictured during a Remembrance Day Service in 2006. Credit: PA

In an interview with the Sunday Times (£), General Sir Richard Shirreff said: "The sort of defence cuts we have seen... have really hollowed out the British armed forces and I think that people need to sit up and recognise that."

“I wouldn’t want to let anybody think that I think that Army 2020 is good news, it’s not.”

Read: Hammond dismisses Army cuts criticism as 'nonsense'

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Defence Secretary pays tribute to Sapper Moralee

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond released a tribute to Sapper Adam Moralee, from Newcastle, who is the first soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in 2014.

He said: "It is clear from the tributes paid to Sapper Moralee that he was a determined and respected soldier who was good-humoured, trustworthy and considerate.

"His untimely death is a tragedy and my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, fiancee and friends at this difficult time."

British soldier who died in Afghanistan named by MoD

The British soldier who died yesterday in Afghanistan has been named as Adam Moralee, 23, from Newcastle.

Adam Moralee of the 32 Engineer Regiment Group died in Afghanistan. Credit: Ministry of Defence

A sapper with 32 Engineer Regiment Group, Moralee was fatally injured "preparing engineer plant equipment for redeployment" in Camp Bastion, the MoD said in a statement.

Sapper Moralee joined the Royal Engineers in 2008, aged 17, and was deployed to Afghanistan in September last year. He was due to be promoted to Lance Corporal later this year.

Read: Death of British soldier in Afghanistan 'a tragic loss'

Family pays tribute to soldier son killed in Afghanistan

The family of Sapper Adam Moralee, who died yesterday from non-battle related injuries sustained in Camp Bastion, have released a statement paying tribute to "a loving son, fiancé, and friend" who they say "touched everyone’s hearts that came into contact with him."

Read: British soldier dies in Afghanistan

As a son he was full of life and always the joker of the family, who never took anything too seriously.

He loved his job and the friends he made from his time in the Army, and he would never have swapped those experiences for the world.

He treated his fiancée, Emma, like his princess and the love they shared was clear to all of those who were lucky enough to see it.

To be his wife would have made Emma feel like the luckiest girl in the world and they were each others’ one true love and soul mates.

– Family of Sapper Adam Moralee

Hammond: Must be shift in balance of defence spending

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has accused a committee of MPs of failing to recognise the need to counter evolving threats, such as potential cyber-attacks, meant there had to be a shift in the balance of defence spending.

Mr Hammond said:

It is not possible to maintain traditional regular forces at historic levels while also investing in countering the threats of tomorrow.

The Army 2020 structure is not simply about a reduction in size; it is a complete overhaul of how the Army works to deliver a fully-integrated force, using a better mix of regulars, reserves and contractors to get the maximum defence effect from the budget.

MPs warn Army cuts 'have not been thought through'

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