New Forest East


[Mr Speaker: Order. We need a pithy question without preamble, perhaps to be authored and delivered by the hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis).]

Dr Julian Lewis: Is not part of the problem that the increase in Reserves has been seen as a cover for a cut in Regular Forces? What can the Minister, as a champion of the Reserves even when we were spending more money on the Armed Forces, say to dispel that impression?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Julian Brazier): I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s question, not least because he is a former member of the Royal Naval Reserve, who are well ahead of their recruiting targets. The short answer is that if we want defence to prosper in this country when there are very many calls on the public purse, we need the footprint around the country that the Reserve Forces have – they are represented in half of all the constituencies in this House – to remind people what Armed Forces are all about.]