New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: It is almost as great a pleasure to question the Right Hon. Gentleman on Scotland from the Back Benches as it is to question him on Defence from the Front Bench.

Should there be, as is widely feared, a proposal to close one of our three naval bases, and the right hon. Gentleman receives representations from the Scottish Executive that it should not be Faslane, but gets suggestions, while wearing his Ministry of Defence hat, that it should be, how will he resolve such a conflict of interest?

[The Secretary of State for Scotland (Des Browne): Not only does the Hon. Gentleman ask me a speculative question, which he knows I will not answer, but it is a complicated, speculative question. I think that I can respond to what underlies the question. I pride myself in the fact that every decision I made as Secretary of State for Defence, and in every other ministerial portfolio I have held, was made in the interests of the responsibilities I had in the job. I will continue to make decisions on Defence in the interests of the defence of the United Kingdom, so there will be no conflict of interest.]