New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: The Defence Select Committee will be assessing the SDSR against a checklist of the threats and vulnerabilities that were published in our report at the weekend, but I am sure that most Members will find at least some relief in the plugging of gaps such as naval aviation and maritime patrol aircraft, and especially in the emphasis on flexible and versatile armed forces to deal with our inability to predict crises before they are upon us. Will the Prime Minister say a little about press reports concerning the pay of armed forces, and will he indicate when the maingate contracts for the successor to the Trident submarines will be brought before the House for debate and decision?

[The Prime Minister: I am sure that members of the Defence Committee have a checklist and will scrutinise that document thoroughly, and I look forward to their conclusions. We are keeping the annual pay upgrade and the increments that our armed forces have. A package has been set out for new joiners, and I am sure the Committee will consider that carefully. My right hon. Friend welcomed the maritime patrol. On the maingate decision, we will be moving ahead with the four submarines and at the appropriate moment we will hold a vote in this House.]