CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

BUSINESS QUESTION – LIBERALS AND DEFENCE – 4 February 2010

Dr Julian Lewis: I am sure that all hon. Members welcome that statement [on restoring confidence in Parliament] by the Leader of the House. May I ask her for another statement about participation, in important debates and statements, by the respective parties – and I do not mean just in Divisions? As a Shadow Defence Minister, I have noticed that Defence Debates include plenty of Government and Opposition speakers, but no Liberal Democrats. Yesterday, in an important Defence Statement, only a single Liberal Democrat Back Bencher asked a question. What is going on, and should not people be getting better value for money from the Liberal Democrats?

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): We are strongly committed to our Armed Forces and ensuring that their mission is clear, the numbers on the ground are sufficient, and that they have the kit and – [Interruption]

Mr Speaker: Order. The hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) asked the question: he should listen to the answer.

Ms Harman: I suspect that this is one of those occasions when the hon. Gentleman feels that the question was rather more important than the answer. However, I shall press on with my answer. The Government remain strongly committed to our defence forces, but the question of Liberal Democrat contributions to the issue is a matter for them.