Recorded coverage of Andrew Marr interviewing defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, from Sunday 14 May.
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Now Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has been used by the
prime list as her faithful attack dog. I think it is fair to say he is
not a massive fan of Jeremy Corbyn but he has plenty of questions to
answer about the state of the Armed Forces under the Conservatives.
In 2015 the Conservatives made a solemn promise about the size
of the Armed Forces, can you remind us of the promise?
We said we would build the army up to 82000 by 2020.
What is the size of the Armed Forces?
We said we would build up forces, including reserves
The quote was, we will maintain the size of the regular armed
services and not reduce the army to below 82000 and the current
figure is 79,000, so you have broken that promise.
We said we would do it over the parliament
Increasing the size of the Army up to 2020,
We have recruitment campaigns, increasing the size of the Navy,
the size of the Royal Air Force and we are determined to improve
the offer we make to service men and women to attract the best
At the moment recruitment is going badly and you are not
getting enough into the army, you were meant to get 9500 in this
year and it is 6000, you are going backwards.
We have several years before we reach our target
but we are spending more on the Armed Forces.
The budget goes up every year and we are giving them
You said I don't accept those figures.
The figures, the target was 9580 to join last year and the figure
That is why top brass are worried about you and the army under you.
We cannot force people to join, we do not have conscription,
the Army has to compete with other sectors.
It was a promise over the parliament and we are only two
years into the parliament and we are spending money
on recruiting and giving the Armed Forces equipment they need.
You have seen aircraft carriers being built,
we are buying new aircraft, and investing in
You said you will increase defence spending by 0.5% above inflation.
That costs roughly over the five years of the new parliament added
to the two years of the last parliament giving the forces roughly
?1 billion more than if we had simply met the 2% target.
The money comes from the growing economy and it was a commitment
we made, choice to spend more on the health service
and defence and we have reduce spending in other areas.
So this is an underfunded commitment, you are
The money has to come from somewhere.
Borrowing is slowly going to be reduced but it comes from a growing
economy is the real answer, because we are running
the economy efficiently and because the economy is growing,
more people in work, more revenue coming in,
and we can make choices, not wild spending and borrowing
promises like Labour but to spend more on the NHS and defence.
According to the Defence Select Committee and Times newspaper
there is a black hole in your equipment budget
We are planning the biggest equipment programme in generations.
New aircraft carriers, frigates, maritime patrol aircraft,
Part of the cost has to come from efficiency savings,
getting rid for example of land, barracks, buildings we do not need,
being more efficient in the way we work.
7.3 billion over the 10-year period, over the five-year period,
I'm sorry, of efficiency savings on top of savings already made
which means if you have airfields you do not need you shut them down.
We have 60 airfields, we do not need 60.
You have to be more efficient as a large organisation
It is absolutely right to invest in that programme we have
to reinvest efficiency savings we make.
The big change is we keep all the efficiency savings.
The Treasury does not take them back.
You have not persuaded your top brass who wrote a letter
It says that your statements about the defence budget have been
disingenuous quoting irrelevant financial statistics and they say,
the government boasts of spending 2% of GDP on defence,
widely criticised as a deception and the Armed Forces are having
to seek damaging savings at a time when combat operations
The 2% is not our figure, it is the Nato figure.
It is the way you have netted a or criticising. -- you have met it they
are criticising. The Secretary General of Nato
was in London this week seeing myself on the Prime Minister
and he confirmed publicly according to the Nato definitions,
we are meeting 2%, almost 2.2%. It is other countries that are not
spending up to the 2% and he confirmed our spending
is defined according These are former chiefs
of defence staff. Have you ever met somebody covered
in brass, a former defence chief They are passionate about defence
and so am I and I am proud It was 35 billion last year
and 36 billion this year and will go up to 40 billion and we will invest
the biggest equipment programme the Armed Forces have seen
in generations and to do that we have to be more efficient
about the way we work. What this government has not
invested in is defences You did not give the NHS the proper
money to stop this cyber attack In the security review over a year
and a few months ago we identified cyber threats as one of the three
principal threats and set aside ?1.9 billion to protect us better
against cyber and a chunk of that We are spending around ?50 million
on the NHS cyber systems to improve security and have encouraged NHS
trusts to reduce exposure Less than 5% of the trusts
use that system. There is money available
to strengthen these systems. You did not pay for them
to strengthen that system It was an old system
we did not want them to use. We warned them and we warned them
again in the spring. It is the fault of the trusts, not
the government, is that what you are saying?
We all have to work about this, the NHS wasn't
The same attacks were applied to Nissan and other areas
We are spending money on strengthening the cyber defence
Is it the case the nuclear, Trident submarines are using Windows XP?
We never comment on different systems for reasons
Vanguard submarines, I can absolutely assure you are safe
and operate in isolation when out on patrol.
I have complete confidence in the nuclear deterrent.
There is no possibility of a malware attack against the military?
I can assure you the nuclear deterrent is protected.
You used a strange phrase when you said in certain
circumstances you thought we would use first strike
The key to the nuclear deterrent is to leave uncertainty in the mind
of any potential adversary, if he is looking at a country
to attack, as to what response he can expect, to leave ambiguity
in the mind of your enemy and that is why we never rule out
whether we would apply first strike or not.
You can imagine using nuclear weapons before anybody else?
The job of the nuclear weapons is to deter and has done that
successfully over 50 years since we have had
You have been critical of Labour on the nuclear issue and defence.
They might say that the problem with your side is wanting to talk
first and bomb later but you always want to bomb first and talk later.
Is there a single war since the Second World War
When we voted on the Iraq War, we were under
I voted for it, like a lot of MPs, because we were told
there were weapons of mass destruction and it
I regret voting for it on the basis there were weapons
I regret voting for it on the basis there weren't weapons
We were dealing with a dictator who invaded other countries and were
The problem with Labour's approaches they are now saying
Emily Thornberry suggested they might negotiate over
You were in favour of using force in Libya.
The Foreign Select Committee report on what happened in Libya
after the war you were keen on, it resulted in, it says, economic
collapse, intertribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises,
human rights violations and the spread of the Gadaffi regime
In short it was a total disaster and you voted for it.
The reason was to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe
where an entire city was potentially going to be wiped out.
That is why we have the intervention.
You are right, when you intervene, we need to learn the lessons
of these conflicts, there needs to be a proper plan
for stabilisation, I have been working with others
That we stabilise these areas and bring in security after the war
is over to ensure the Sunni have a proper stake
You have launched a new council housing policy and there are two
The money is coming from the 1.4 billion earmarked for capital
expenditure from the Autumn Statement.
It is not new money but the amount of money for each council
will depend on deals struck with Manchester, Birmingham,
to get more social housing built in these areas of a high enough
It is an attractive policy that will give people an alternative
to waiting and waiting to get into a council house or flat.
You and Emily Thornberry are coming back in a little while.