France to become US number one ally if Britain does not boost military .The bombshell warning was delivered to the US’s Secretary of Defense to his British counterpart, Gavin Williamson, two weeks ago.
In it, former US Marine Corps general Jim Mattis says Washington DC is “concerned” that Britain’s military prowess is “at risk of erosion”.
With threats around the world spiralling, America now expects the UK to hike its cash to the military to help counter them “beyond what we would expect from allies with only regional interests”.
In an ominous threat, the general also makes it very clear that while Britain may want to “remain the US partner of choice”, France is already boosting its defence spending – and is waiting in the wings to replace us
President Trump wants an answer from the UK by the time he arrives in Europe next week for the NATO Summit, Mattis adds.
The letter’s revelation today is a deep embarrassment to Theresa May, and plunges her into a fresh political crisis.
Defence Secretary Mr Williamson, backbench MPs and British generals have all pleaded with her to hike the MoD’s budget and fill its £20bn blackhole.
But the PM is adamantly refusing, alongside Chancellor Philip Hammond.
The letter from highly respected General Mattis – nicknamed “Mad Dog” when he was in the Marines – was sent on June 12, three days after he held talks in London with Mr Williamson while his guest at Trooping the Colour.
In the two page letter, General Mattis argues that Britain’s position as a leading world power “has been the credibility of the UK’s armed forces”.
But he adds: “I am concerned that your ability to continue to provide this critical military foundation for diplomatic success is at risk of erosion, while together we face a world awash with change”.
For the first time in the letter, the senior US politician also gives a firm hint that Washington now wants Britain to go beyond the NATO minimum of spending 2% of GDP on defence, which the government only just about meets at the moment with the inclusion of pensions.
Mattis adds: “A global nation like the UK, with interests and commitments around the world, will require a level of defense (sic) spending beyond what we would expect from allies with only regional interests.
“Absent a vibrant military arm, world peace and stability would be at further risk”.
Purposely highlighting Paris’s recent pledge to pump an extra £260bn into bolstering its armed forces by 2025, Mattis adds: “As global actors, France and the US have concluded that now is the time to significantly increase our investment in defense.
“Other allies are following suit.”
And dropping the hint that the Special Relationship is now in peril with France in ther wings, Mattis goes on: “It is in the best interest of both our nations for the UK to remain the US partner of choice.
“In that spirit, the UK will need to invest and maintain robust military capability.
“It is not for me to tell you how to prioritize your domestic spending priorities, but I hope the UK will soon be able to share with us a clear, and fully funded, forward defense blueprint that will allow me to plan our own future engagement with you from a position of strength and confidence.
“In advance of that, the President and I look forward to hearing details of the progress you have made with your Modernizing Defence Programme at the upcoming NATO Summit.”
Generals are calling on Mrs May to increase the MoD’s budget to 2.5% of GDP a year, which would see a cash increase of £6bn-£7bn.