CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – PRESIDENT TRUMP & ATLANTIC ALLIANCE – 30 January 2017

Dr Julian Lewis: The Government are certainly not breaking any NATO rules in calculating the 2%, but may I remind Ministers and hon. Members that 2% is a minimum? It is not a target, and we used to spend much more than 2% in the cold war years, as recently as the 1980s. Does the Secretary of State agree that even if all our NATO European allies were to meet the 2% pledge as a minimum, we would still be unable to deter an aggressive Russia without the wholehearted involvement of the United States, which is why the Prime Minister’s visit to President Trump was so absolutely important?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Sir Michael Fallon): I had been hoping over the last few days to find something on which my right hon. Friend and I can agree, and we have now done so, because I absolutely endorse both legs of his proposition. The 2% is a minimum, and we comfortably exceed it at the moment, but it is important that other countries meet it, and, overall, it is important that the alliance continues to improve its investment.]