New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: The Minister has done more than most to flag up the need for more investment in defence. Can he assure us that, where contraction takes place for the reasons that he has explained, contingency plans are in place so that, if this country should regrettably ever find itself involved in a major conflict, expansion could equally easily occur?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Tobias Ellwood): My right hon. Friend, who is the Chair of the Defence Committee, makes such an important point. That is why Chivenor is interesting, because it has an airstrip, which is built on a flood plain. Do we want to lose that asset? We saw what happened at Heathrow yesterday. If things actually go in the direction that he suggests, it is important that we choose wisely which parts of our real estate that we close down and which parts we might need in the near or long-term future.]