PRIME MINISTER – DEFENCE EXPENDITURE – 23 March 2015
Dr Julian Lewis: As the only major party leader to trust the British people with an in/out referendum on EU membership, my right hon. Friend has certainly reassured the patriotic British electorate. Will he now go the whole way by reassuring them that throughout the next Parliament, when he is Prime Minister, Britain will not fall below the NATO recommended minimum of 2% of GDP on defence?
[The Prime Minister: I would say to my hon. Friend, who I know cares passionately about this issue, as I do, that we are one of the few countries in Europe to meet 2%. We have met it through this Parliament, and we are meeting it this year and next year. He has very specific guarantees about a full replacement for Trident, a £160 billion equipment programme that will go up in real terms each year and no further reductions in regular personnel in our armed forces. I think those are bankable assurances, which will resonate on the doorsteps as he goes house to house.]