Brits urged to practice bunker evacuation drills as country enters ‘pre-war world’

James Heappey, who recently resigned as armed forces minister, has said that Britain needs to get serious about its war preparedness.

The former minister said many officials in Whitehall do not take claims that the country is in a pre-war world seriously enough.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Heappey said that Ben Wallace, when he was defence secretary, pushed government departments to take part in bunker drills in the event of war.

However, most officials declined to take part in a “whole of government” exercise.

The former minister said Mr Wallace tried to “to get people down to the bunker so they could see what their working environment in war would be”.

He added: “In the end, rather depressingly, it was just defence ministers, senior military officers and MoD officials that participated.”

Mr Heappey said that the drill would have exposed how out-of-date Britain’s emergency drills are.

He went on to criticise his colleagues in cabinet, saying: “I suspect there are plenty of cabinet ministers who don’t even know where their desk or bed in the bunker is. There might even be one or two who don’t even know where the bunker is!”

The former minister said that the UK is a “very long way behind” in being prepared for the realities of war.

He said that the country had to focus on strategic resilience – such as securing food and energy supplies and repurposing industry to build weapons – as well as more money for defence.

He called out Rishi Sunak, adding: “Only a foolish PM wouldn’t see that the long-term trend is towards global instability that could easily lead to a new cold war and perhaps something even hotter.

“Preparing for war now both through increasing spending on defence but also through a focus on our strategic resilience is the best way to maximise the chance of peace.”

Earlier this well, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, who replaced Mr Wallace, warned that NATO had moved from a “post-war to a pre-war world”.

Also this week, Sir Alex Younger, a former chief of MI6, urged the UK to implement a Swedish-style military conscription.

This comes amid growing fears of an all-out war between NATO and Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on.

During the Cold War, the UK had a large network of bunkers built in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

However, most of the subterranean safe-houses became disused after the Cold War ended.

SOURCE

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