New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: Does my hon. Friend [Tobias Ellwood] agree that there is a great difference between ending a Cold War and embarking on two new wars?

[Mr Ellwood: The Shadow Minister exemplifies why he is on the Front Bench. It is clear that this Government have not got their priorities right.]

* * *

Dr Lewis: The Secretary of State [Des Browne] comes back neatly to the point on which I wanted to intervene. Does he not accept that the context becomes very different between the end of the Cold War, when defence expenditure was rightly cut – with the support of the Labour Party – and the embarking on two new wars?

When the right hon. Gentleman says that expenditure is being increased by 1.5 per cent. above inflation, is he not ignoring the testimony of those defence finance experts who point out that for most major defence projects, inflation rises at a much higher rate than the average? The 1.5 per cent. above inflation increase will not enable us even to continue to pay for what we are already funding, let alone have any real increase.