Tory Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond tried to have a senior British general court-martialled for publicly criticizing cuts to the military budget, tabled while Hammond was defense secretary, the retired officer has claimed.
General Sir Richard Shirreff, who served as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Commander, says he only avoided “formal action” because “wiser counsel prevailed.”
Formal action in that case would have been a full court martial, Shirreff claims.
In 2014 Shirreff said it was a “hell of a gamble” to enforce austerity measures that would have cut the UK military “to the bone.”
In his new book, “2017: War with Russia,” Shirreff said: “Fortunately for [Hammond’s] political reputation — it also seems he had not appreciated that I reported to NATO and not to him — wiser counsel prevailed.”
He added: “But the damage to our armed forces … had already been done.”
Sources close to Hammond, however, claimed that Shirreff was wrong to make such a statement and that his “outbursts” were solely driven by an urge to sell his new book.
“No one recognizes this claim, but this guy has made a series of outlandish claims over the years,” a source told the tabloid Sun newspaper.
Shirreff said it was vital for “senior soldiers engaged with politicians not to think like politicians, not to make life easier for politicians, but to be prepared to lay out the military consequences of political decisions, and I sense that is something that has got blurred in recent years.”
Shirreff’s apocalyptic new book suggests the West is on a collision course with Russia and that, under Prime Minister David Cameron, Britain has become an effeminate European-style social democracy more concerned with welfare then warfare.
Shirreff, 60, says he is deeply concerned that once powerful Britain has been left with only an “increasingly tiny and impotent stick” with which to do battle.