Photo: flickr user: isafmedia
Ex-Security Minister Lord West, one of the most senior members of the UK’s Labour Party, has provoked controversy when talking about possible cuts to the British military budget.Lord West was taking part in talks with a group of 100 journalists in London. Here’s the full text of his statement via the BBC:
“This business of a second-tier power – we are probably, depending on what figures you use, the fifth or sixth wealthiest nation in the world.
“We have the largest percentage of our GDP on exports, apart from the tiny countries around the world, we run world shipping from the UK, we are the largest European investor in South Asia, South East Asia (and) the Pacific Rim, so our money and our wealth depends on this global scene.
“We are a permanent member of the [United Nations] Security Council and I think that gives us certain clout and certain ability.
“These mean we are not a second-tier power. We are not bloody Denmark or Belgium, and if we try to become that, I think we would be worse-off as a result. I get slightly annoyed at this sort of statement.”
At this point, Labour’s shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy, who was sitting next to Lord West, said, “Thanks Alan, and obviously for any friends from Belgium or Denmark, apologies. Or should I say former friends from Belgium or Denmark?”
The Labour Party has apologized for the comments.
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