Brexit could boost UK’s military standing, says defence secretary

Gavin Williamson

Brexit represents an opportunity for Britain to boost its global military standing in response to the threats posed by Russia and China, the defence secretary will say in a notably combative address at a defence thinktank.

Gavin Williamson intends to argue in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute on Monday that a post-Brexit UK should redefine its role as a global power prepared to intervene against countries that “flout international law”, backed up by new military technologies and capabilities.

The cabinet minister, who is increasingly keen to talk up Brexit at a time when a deal is elusive, is expected to say leaving the EU will allow the UK “to consider how we not only project but maximise our influence around the world in the months and years to come”.

Williamson is expected to conclude: “Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality and increase our mass.”

Allies of the minister indicated that Williamson would detail new technologies to spell out what he meant by boosting the lethality of the armed forces, stemming from a belief that future threats are more likely to come from well-resourced states rather than Islamist or other terrorist groups.

“Russia is resurgent rebuilding its military arsenal” and Nato must “develop its ability to handle the kind of provocations that Russia is throwing at us”, the minister will say nearly…

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