(Reuters) – Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the United States on Monday his country would always be at Washington’s side on the battlefield “when the chips are down”, part of a concerted campaign to assuage U.S. fears over British defence spending.
The U.S. army’s chief of staff said earlier this month he was very concerned about the impact of spending cuts on British defence and future cooperation with London, traditionally a staunch U.S. ally.
Ahead of an unusually close national election on May 7, Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party are under pressure from lawmakers across the spectrum to commit to protect defence spending after the ballot. Both have dodged firm pledges.
Fallon, who held talks with U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter earlier this month, said Washington and concerned British lawmakers had nothing to worry about.
“The U.S. understands what really matters in today’s unstable world. When the chips are down, the UK will always be at their side,” Fallon wrote in the Daily Telegraph. “Our American friends know that the UK is not about to let down its guard.”
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