By Matthew Barrett
Follow Matthew on Twitter.
The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, appeared on Sky News earlier today. When asked about the Olympic security situation, he said the 3,500 troops apparently deployed to make up for a gap in security contractors' capabilities were part of an armed forces "contribution" which was always intended to exist:
"There was always intended to be a significant armed forces contribution to the security operation around the Olympics. What’s happened over the last few days is we’ve made a decision to bring some of what was being held as a contingency… and deploy it to support G4S, work alongside G4S recognising that the company has now said that they think it unlikely they can guarantee the full numbers of venue security guards they were contracted to deliver."
The Secretary of State denied that the deployment was in response to an increased threat:
"This is not a response to any sense of an increased threat, it is simply recognising that G4S has had difficulties with the scheduling and mobilisation of its workforce and that it is better to err on the side of caution, deploy and additional 3,500 troops and then we can be sure that we will have sufficient manpower in place to do the venue guarding task whether or not G4S solve those problems or do not solve them over the next few days."
"I don’t think this is the moment for getting into the blame game actually. G4S have been quite honourable – they’ve put their hands up, Nick Buckles, the chief executive, has said they got it wrong, they’ve apologised, they’re going to cover all the costs, he’s apologised to the troops who are going to have to be drafted in at the last moment."