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Burton Continues To Say And Do Nothing

4 September 2001

The Minister of Defence continues to refuse to answer questions about his contact with former Chief of the Army, Piers Reid, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"In Parliament today Mark Burton would not confirm or deny that he had talked to Mr Reid about the replacement of the light armoured vehicles and in particular whether the two had discussed the number of vehicles the army preferred.

"The Minister is fast establishing a record for saying and doing nothing despite the fact that there has been overwhelming evidence over the past two weeks of some army senior officers manipulating defence funding for army purposes.

"There are so many leaks and holes from the army he is beginning to look like King Canute. It's time he agreed to a parliamentary inquiry or a full commission of inquiry. A ministerial inquiry simply won't be good enough.

"The more Mark Burton refuses to wake up to reality, the more it begins to look like a cover-up, masking an unhealthy relationship between the army and Labour.

"We now know Piers Reid talked in 1997 of destroying the airforce first and then the navy, as that much has been confirmed in the Gordon document. Since then there has been an emerging and now deep split within the army and between it and the other services over defence re-equipment and policy. Virtually all of this was hidden from previous defence ministers.

"All political parties have got an interest in ensuring the damage to the army and the defence force is kept to a minimum. Those officers involved in the apparent conspiracy outlined in the Gordon document, need to brought to account and if necessary, fired," Mr Bradford said.

Ends


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