United Kingdom

Boris Johnson is blasted over his 'casual' approach to Britain's national security

Boris Johnson came under fire last night over the Government’s ‘more casual’ approach to Britain’s national security.

MPs and peers issued the criticism as they warned that the Whitehall machine was unable to cope with more than one major crisis at a time.

Parliament’s joint committee on the national security strategy cited the fall of Afghanistan as proof that the system of dealing with risks was already ‘inadequate to the task’.

Boris Johnson came under fire last night over the Government’s ‘more casual’ approach to Britain’s national security

In a highly critical report, the committee said the lack of preparation for the withdrawal of international forces from the war-torn country could ‘only be described as a systemic failure’.

But it raised fears that the Government’s readiness for future security crises would only worsen because of new reforms to Whitehall’s National Security Council.

The NSC was established in 2010 by David Cameron, with weekly meetings bringing together senior Ministers and defence and intelligence chiefs chaired by the Prime Minister.

Parliament’s joint committee on the national security strategy cited the fall of Afghanistan as proof that the system of dealing with risks was already ‘inadequate to the task’. A soldier is pictured above outside Kabul airport last month 

But changes already in train would in future result in Mr Johnson chairing only around half its meetings.

The committee said it was the PM’s presence that ‘lends credibility to the NSC’.

It added: ‘Yet under the new system, the PM will spend roughly 65 per cent less time in NSC.’ It said this was a ‘retrograde step that suggests a more casual approach to national security’.

Last night, Labour defence spokesman John Healey said: ‘Rather than learning the lessons from Afghanistan or Covid, the PM’s response is to reduce the number of hours he puts into keeping Brits safe.’

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