Election 2017

Reality Check: Have Tories kept army pledge?

Michael Fallon saying: We said we would build the army up to 82,000 by the year 2020

The claim: The Conservatives pledged to build up the size of the army to 82,000 by 2020.

Reality Check verdict: The actual manifesto pledge was to not let the size of the army fall below 82,000. It currently stands at nearly 78,500 so that pledge has been broken.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was asked on the Andrew Marr Show about the Conservative Party's manifesto pledge on army numbers from the 2015 election.

"We said we would build the army up to 82,000 by the year 2020," he replied, adding that the number was currently just over 79,000 but pointing out that it was not yet 2020.

But Mr Fallon was mistaken about what his party had promised to do two years ago.

The actual pledge from the manifesto was: "We will maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the army to below 82,000."

The Ministry of Defence publishes monthly figures for the size of the armed forces, the most recent of which are for March this year.

They show that in May 2015, at the time of the last election, the number of full-time, trained staff in the army was 81,935, having dropped from 98,418 in the previous three years.

It has fallen gradually in the two years since then, so that it now stands at 78,432.


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