Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire ex-navy officer fears over defence cuts

A retired naval officer has warned that drastic cuts to the Royal Navy as part of defence savings could damage British security.

John Parfitt, 79, from Painswick, Gloucestershire, has written to a national newspaper about his concerns.

Last week, Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced he wanted a "leaner" MoD to help fight a £37bn deficit.

The former Lt Commander claimed the navy was stretched defending British shorelines and on overseas operations.

Maritime power

"The navy has effectively been running on empty for a long time," he said.

"I think that any further cuts in front line ships will be quite disastrous, one of the reasons being that if we are not seen as a maritime power, other people will make decisions in bodies like the World Trade Organisation and United Nations, without consulting us.

"We will end up having other people telling us what our maritime and trade policies should be," he added.

Dr Fox indicated last week there would be fewer civil servants and senior officers to ensure enough money was devoted to the front line.

He did not say what jobs or equipment would go, but said cutting the deficit would be "difficult and painful".

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