Conservatives are not ‘the only party’ committed to increasing defence spending

15 May 2024
What was claimed

The Conservatives are the only party in the House of Commons committed to increasing defence spending.

Our verdict

False. At least one other party represented in Parliament—Reform UK—has also set out a specific timeframe for increasing defence spending, while both Labour and the Liberal Democrats support increasing defence spending, but have not set out a specific timeframe.

During today’s Prime Minister’s Questions the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “we are the only party in this place committed to increasing our defence spending.”

This isn’t correct.

The government has pledged to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030. Earlier this week Mr Sunak criticised the Labour party for having “refused to match” this commitment.

At least one other party—Reform UK, which has one MP—has set out a specific timeframe for increasing defence spending. Reform UK says it would increase spending to 2.5% of GDP within three years, with a further increase to 3% of GDP within six years.

The Labour party says it is committed to increasing defence spending to 2.5% of GDP, but has not set out a specific timeframe, saying it would do so “as soon as resources allow”.

The Liberal Democrats also say they support increasing defence spending, telling Full Fact: “At this critical time with war raging on our continent we need to spend more on defence and of course 2.5% should be an ambition, but Rishi Sunak’s empty promises on defence mean nothing when he is cutting 10,000 troops from the Army.”

The SNP did not directly confirm what level of defence spending it supported, but said any increase should be done “responsibly” and should not involve reductions in spending on public services elsewhere. 

Full Fact has contacted the other parties represented in the House of Commons to ask their current positions on defence spending increases. 

We’ve also contacted Number 10 for comment and will update this article if we receive a response.

It is important that politicians quickly correct inaccurate claims they make about other political parties to ensure the highest standards of honesty and accuracy in public debate are upheld.

Image courtesy of Defence Imagery

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After we published this fact check, we contacted Rishi Sunak to request a correction regarding this claim.

We are waiting to hear back from him.

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