MP calls for better kit for troops

By Roddy AshworthSHADOW defence secretary Bernard Jenkin has criticised what he claimed were Government failures to invest properly in up-to-date equipment for the armed forces.

By Roddy Ashworth

SHADOW defence secretary Bernard Jenkin has criticised what he claimed were Government failures to invest properly in up-to-date equipment for the armed forces.

Mr Jenkin, the Conservative MP for North Essex, made his comments yesterday after returning from Iraq, where he visited British troops.

“The clear message from British forces in Iraq is that we got away with it this time,” he said.


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“Future operations cannot be mounted without more investment in logistical support, supplies, spares and ammunition.

“British forces fought superbly, despite kit arriving late or not at all. Even now, British troops are wearing clothing designed for the north German plane in the heat of an Iraqi summer.

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Mr Jenkin added: “In Iraq we had on the ground exactly what we needed, but with nothing to spare.

“Faced with a challenge the British Armed Forces will never say no, but we cannot go on taking them for granted.”

Mr Jenkin claimed the British armed forces were “years behind” America in military hardware and technology and felt the UK contingent was too small to handle the level of operations the Government wanted them to.

But a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “Obviously, there will be lessons learned from the recent operation and that process is ongoing, but a lot of the equipment proved itself very well.

“We have seen a new set of standards in Iraq which have contributed to our ongoing success.

“Our forces did extremely well in a quick and surgical operation. We have excellent kit, we have excellent people and they did an excellent job.

“Our performance there speaks for itself. We have got experts who are the best - it is a credit to their training and development.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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