DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – DEFENCE IN THE UK – 26 April 2007

[Linda Gilroy: The defence budget has risen by £1 billion a year over the past five years, in contrast to the past five years under the Tories when it was cut by £500 million per year. They say that at the current level of 2.5 per cent. of GDP, defence spending is at an historic low, but 2.5 per cent. is the same level as in 1997. Who cut defence spending as a percentage of GDP?]

Dr Julian Lewis: May I remind the hon. Lady that the only reason why the figure of 2.5 per cent. is being bruited abroad rather than the 2.2 per cent. that the rate actually is, is the Prime Minister's spin which is that the proportion remains roughly constant at 2.5 per cent. if the costs of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are included? As we all know, those costs should be met separately from the Treasury reserve.