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Ministry of Defence in line for more money - but at a cost

Credit: PA

After a week of sniping across Whitehall the Ministry of Defence may get some of the money it has been fighting hard to extract from the Treasury, but the Defence Secretary's tactics have caused intense annoyance over the road.

A senior MoD source confidently tells me: "There will be a settlement. It will be less than the MoD says it needs, but more than the Treasury wants to give."

They added what's most important is that any deal is front loaded in the first couple of years of the Equipment Plan. After that, the 10 year plan, which faces a shortfall of up to £21bn, becomes more affordable.

The Treasury is reluctant of course, but a source there concedes the MoD may still get more because, "historically that's how Government works."

Gavin Williamson's timing in asking for more money is "embarrassing" a senior source said. Credit: PA

Yet the Treasury contact is scathing about how the Defence Secretary has been lobbying, saying: "Gavin Williamson doesn't even know what he wants the money for. He's just doing it to get a big roar from all the guys in defence."

There is additional irritation that the campaign stepped up around the time of the Prime Minister's big NHS cash announcement, the source said, "for six weeks the Chancellor worked really hard with the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary while he [Williamson] was shouting in the streets."

"His timing is embarrassing," the source added.

So the MoD may very well have more resources by the end of the year, but it will have paid a high price in goodwill lost.