Scots SAS expert warns war toll will rise by 400

By Michael MacLeod

ANOTHER 400 British troops will be killed in Afghanistan according to a former SAS deputy commander.

Clive Fairweather warns that by the time UK forces pull out of the country in 2014, they could have lost many more due to rising numbers of seriously wounded soldiers.

The defence analyst spoke out after Greenock solider Lance Corporal Stephen Monkhouse, 28, died along with Corporal Matthew Stenton, 23, while trying to rescue a wounded comrade.

The pair were serving in the country’s Helmand province, where UK troops will stop fighting by 2014 according to the latest statement by defence secretary Liam Fox.

By then, Mr Fairweather fears Taliban fighters will have claimed hundreds more lives.
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Fears grow for future of Scotland’s RAF bases

By Paul Thornton

FEARS that sweeping defence cuts could force the closure of a Scottish RAF base have been met with defiance by the SNP.

RAF Lossiemouth in Moray is thought to be included in a shortlist of operations which could face the axe under the new Westminster coalition government’s defence review.

The base employs around 3,000 staff directly and, along with nearby RAF Kinloss, is thought to support as many as 7,000 jobs in the North of Scotland, pumping £76m into the economy.

But – with the MOD facing a £36b budget shortfall – Defence Secretary Liam Fox has ordered military chiefs to make cuts in the Strategic Defence Review (SDR).

And – according to reports – the government believes that at least one of the two bases must go. Continue reading

Former Army chief Sir Richard Dannatt accused of being Tory stooge as Labour Peer goes on the attack

By Shaun Milne

THE FORMER head of the British Army has been branded a “Tory stooge” after it emerged he stands to become a junior minister should David Cameron’s party be swept to victory at the next General Election.

Labour reacted furiously to news that General Sir Richard Dannatt may be handed a Peerage to allow him to enter a Conservative administration as adviser on defence if they can seize Downing Street.

UNDER FIRE: General Sir Richard Dannatt

UNDER FIRE: General Sir Richard Dannatt

Mr Cameron, who is expected to unveil the appointment in Manchester tomorrow (thur), fuelled the speculation when he said: “He is a man of great talent and ability.

“He has been a great public servant and I think he has more to do.”

Such a move would be lauded by the Tory Party faithful – but fiercely rounded upon by angry Labour figures.

General Dannatt has recently pounded the current Government with claims soldiers on the front line are being forced to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan with “at least part of one arm” tied behind their backs.

Stretched

He said Prime Minister Gordon Brown has left troops exposed by refusing to allow 2000 extra soldiers into theatre on grounds of cost.

It follows a previous volley from the General in January where he said a lack of equipment had “seriously stretched our soldiers”. Continue reading