THERESA May has been given a stark military warning by the US to drastically increase defence spending or risk having the special relationship between the two nations severely soured, it has been revealed.
US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis wrote to Gavin Williamson two weeks ago to iterate the need for Mrs May to increase spending to tackle “a world awash with change”.
He said: “I am concerned that your ability to continue to provide this critical military foundation for diplomatic success is at risk of erosion, while together we face a world awash with change.
“A global nation like the UK, with interests and commitments around the world, will require a level of defence spending beyond what we would expect from allies with only regional interests.
“Absent a vibrant military arm, world peace and stability would be at further risk”.
The document is understood to have been sent on June 12.
This would have been three days after the US official spoke with Mr Williamson during a visit to London.
Mr Mattis hinted the special relationship between the US and UK could be eroded if it does not increase defence funding in the letter seen by the Sun.
He added the US could turn to France as a close ally in what would be a major snub to the UK.
The Defence Secretary continued: “As global actors, France and the US have concluded that now is the time to significantly increase our investment in defence.
“Other allies are following suit.
“It is in the best interest of both our nations for the UK to remain the US partner of choice.
“In that spirit, the UK will need to invest and maintain robust military capability.”
Mr Mattis hinted the special relationship between the US and UK could be eroded
Mr Mattis added that he and Donald Trump “look forward to hearing details of the progress you have made” at the upcoming NATO Summit in Brussels.
The meeting in Belgium will take place on July 11 and 12.
The US Defence Secretary went on: “It is not for me to tell you how to prioritise your domestic spending priorities, but I hope the UK will soon be able to share with us a clear, and fully funded, forward defence blueprint that will allow me to plan our own future engagement with you from a position of strength and confidence.
The US official spoke with Mr Williamson during a visit to London last month
“In advance of that, the President and I look forward to hearing details of the progress you have made with your Modernising Defence Programme at the upcoming NATO Summit.”
Gavin Williamson and some British generals have previously asked Mrs May to increase the MoD’s budget to 2.5 percent of GDP a year.
But Mrs May, in addition to Philip Hammond, are refusing to budge on the issue.