One in 14 soldiers in British Army “unfit to deploy”

The British army is being substantially weakened by its troops suffering from long-term sickness.

The Daily Telegraph has reported today that sickness and injury are reducing the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures show that of ten battalions recently deployed or currently in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 400 troops were left in the UK because they were “unfit to deploy.”

With one in 14 soldiers being unable to be deployed to the war zones, the British army is facing considerable staff shortages, the Conservatives claim.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, claimed that the shortages could “endanger safety of personnel” and suggested a “retention crisis” in the military.

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, who obtained the figures, said: “The MoD says it is 4,000 below strength but the truth is that there are two brigades’ worth of long-term sick who cannot deploy and are simply a liability.”

In commenting on the allegations, an MoD spokesman responded: “Details of individual units programmed to deploy will be announced shortly.”

At present there are 7,700 British troops in Afghanistan and 4,500 in Iraq.