The House of Lords rose for recess this week and will not return until the 8th of October, meanwhile the House of Commons also remains on recess and will not return until the 2nd of September.
The Government has announced that Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford has been appointed as the new Chief of the Air Staff. Sir Andrew is a former Wessex and Chinook helicopter pilot and takes command over from his predecessor Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton who is retiring. ACM Pulford is the first helicopter pilot to be the professional head of the Service and said he did not “underestimate the challenges” facing the service, particularly as the UK remained “heavily committed to operations”. ACM joined the RAF in 1977 and has taken part in operations in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Balkans, Lebanon and the Gulf.
British defence cuts a “critical concern” to new US ambassador
According to the Daily Telegraph, cuts of Britain’s defence spending are of “critical concern” to the special relationship with the US. The Telegraph says that President Obama’s nominee to be the next US ambassador in London, Matthew Barzun, has warned that he would pressure the UK government to maintain Britain’s military capabilities despite budgetary constraints. Mr Barzun told US Senators that because of the US’s deep co-operation with the UK, the country was committed to working with the strong relationship to ensure the UK retains “full-spectrum capability” and that it would remain able to lead missions on behalf of NATO.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Republican Senator Bob Corker had complained to Mr Barzun that the UK was “barely” meeting its obligation as a member of NATO to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence. Barzun, who is expected to be appointed without significant opposition, said that once in London he would prioritise dealing with the war in Afghanistan and security challenges such as the Syrian civil war, the Middle East peace process and Iran’s nuclear programme.