Only hours after news emerged that the Ministry of Defence had been told to find £1bn to cut from its budget, the National Security Council discussed sending British troops into Iraq.
The troops will be sent to join the US military mission to train forces battling Islamic State (IS) in an extension of the UK mission, currently based in the Kurdish-held area of the war-torn country, the Evening Standard reports.
The council, which meets weekly and is chaired by David Cameron, is set to approve the expansion in troop deployment after the Army is said to be ready to go ahead.
The mission would incorporate different specialist groups to train forces fighting the Islamic terrorists in Iraq who have been making gains in the country despite air strikes on key targets. These would include members from the Explosive Ordinance Disposal who counter roadside bombs and IEDs which were the bedrock in the attack on ISAF forces in Afghanistan.
It was only yesterday that sources in the Ministry of Defence admitted the cut backs will mean Britain won’t be able to get involved in as many operations. They told The Times a saving of £1bn by the end of March 2015 “would not be a thing you could just swallow and carry on.”