Even as it prepares to sever ties with the EU, the UK has signaled that its defense commitments are going nowhere but up. Reuters:
British Prime Minister Theresa May promised to increase the country’s defense budget by at least 0.5 percent in real terms every year until 2023 if she wins a June 8 election, adding an extra two years to her party’s existing spending pledge.
May, whose Conservative Party is expected to win the election next month, said the promise was about keeping the country safe and fulfilling Britain’s “obligations to the world”.
“If elected on June 8 I will ensure that the UK continues to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense and that the budget rises every year,” May said in a statement.
As we have noted before, the UK has often wavered on its defense commitments in recent years, cutting back on capacity while struggling to come up with a consistent vision for its place in the world. So this is good news: a reassuring sign that as long as Theresa May is in charge, the UK will remain an outward-looking power that is committed to a responsible defense posture. With so many unanswered questions about Britain’s future status in Europe, May’s pledge is a reassuring harbinger of stability—and as Brexit nears, the UK’s defense plans will make it an even more valuable ally for the U.S.