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EUROPE

11 May 10. General Election: Coalition Agreed. HM The Queen accepted (11 May 10) the resignation of The Rt Hon G Brown MP as Prime Minister and invited The Rt Hon D Cameron to form a Government. Agreements reached between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties on 11 May 10 included:-
* An emergency budget within 50 days.
* A full Spending Review to be held, reporting in Autumn 2010.
* A full Strategic Security and Defence Review, to be held alongside the Spending Review with strong involvement of HM Treasury.
* Maintenance of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, with the renewal of Trident to be scrutinised to ensure value for money.
* Establishment of five-year, fixed-term Parliaments.
Dr L Fox MP (Conservative) has been appointed Secretary of State for Defence and Mr N Harvey MP (Liberal Democrat) is the new Minister of State for the Armed Forces. Two Conservatives, Mr G Howarth MP and
Mr A Robathan MP, are the new Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State for the MoD.
Comment: It will be a welcome change to have Ministers with some understanding of the Armed Forces. Dr Fox was a civilian Army Medical Officer for 10 years, albeit with the Education Corps, and was Conservative ‘Shadow’ Defence Secretary. Mr Harvey has been ‘Shadow’ Defence Secretary for his Party since 2006.
Mr Howarth holds a pilot’s licence and was commissioned into the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1968.
Mr Robathan spent 15 years in the Army, serving in the Coldstream Guards and in the Special Air Service.
Mr Robathan rejoined the Army for a short while in 1991 in order to serve in the Middle East.
Precise details of the new Ministerial responsibilities have yet to be announced. When all the members of the Defence Council are known, the revised list will be published with DNA (probably with Issue 10/20).

09 May 10. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Corporal from 40 Commando, Royal Marines was fatally wounded in an explosion South of Patrol Base Shuga on 9 May 10. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 285, of whom 251 were killed as a result of hostile action. (MoD, 9 May 10.)
The new British Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Sir William Patey, visited British troops and redevelopment projects in Nad ‘Ali. The Ambassador was briefed by the District Governor and by the Commanding Officer of 1st Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. (MoD, 11 May 10.)
Commander ISAF Regional Command (South) said that a strong security presence has been created throughout Marjah, South Helmand, and that security was being built in the District centre. However, there was still progress to be made to assert the Afghan Government’s authority in the region. (MoD, 13 May 10.)
C Squadron, Royal Dragoon Guards is protecting and rebuilding the village of Gorup-e Shesh Kalay. The Squadron is deployed as dismounted Infantry. (MoD, 14 May 10.)
Comment: NATO/US authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of innocent civilians being killed. 90 Afghan civilians were killed by NATO/US troops in the first four months of 2010 and a further 100 were wounded. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS

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