PRIME MINISTER – SECURITY, DEFENCE & FOREIGN POLICY REVIEW – 12 February 2020
Dr Julian Lewis: Will the Prime Minister list his official engagements for Wednesday 12 February?
The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson): The whole House will want to join me in sending our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the weekend’s flooding. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced the activation of the Government’s emergency Bellwin scheme to provide financial support for qualifying affected areas in the north of England, and we continue to work closely with our partners to help those affected and, above all, to keep people safe.
This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall hold further such meetings later today.
Dr Lewis: Will the Prime Minister take steps to ensure that the security, defence and foreign policy review is completed before the comprehensive spending review?
The Prime Minister: We will continue to transform the UK economy through the Budget in March and the comprehensive spending review later this year. The timing of that integrated review will be announced shortly.
Dr Lewis: I am grateful for that reply. May I urge the Prime Minister to recall what happened to the last combined security and defence review, which was done within a straitjacket of fiscal neutrality? It meant that every extra pound spent on cyber or security was a pound to be cut from the conventional armed forces. Therefore, will he try to ensure that the next attempt at a combined security and defence review will not face such a straitjacket and will be concluded before rather than after the comprehensive spending review?
The Prime Minister: I understand very well the point that my right hon. Friend makes. I can assure him that the integrated review will be the deepest review of Britain’s security, defence and foreign policy since the cold war. I can also assure him that by transforming this country’s economy and by raising productivity, we will ensure that both defence and security are amply provided for.