New Forest East



[Mark Hendrick: ...  As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a member of the European Union and a member of NATO, we should make a minimum 2% GDP commitment to defence. Listening to the debate today, I get the impression that one or two Members think that 2% of GDP is a target, but it is not; it is a floor below which spending should not drop.]

Dr Julian Lewis: In endorsing that important point, may I point out that, during the cold war in the 1980s, we were spending, at times, more than 5% of GDP on defence?

[Mark Hendrick: I was not aware of that fact, but I totally concur with the idea of spending anything up to 5%. As I said, 2% should be considered the floor. ...]

* * *

[Sir Richard Ottaway: I enjoyed listening to the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn). It is 32 years since I first came to the House and made my maiden speech on defence and this is probably the last speech that I will make in the Chamber, but during those 32 years, I have never agreed with a word that he has ever said. None the less, I enjoy listening to him.]

Dr Lewis: I cannot resist pointing out that the second name on the motion today, which is

“That this House believes that defence spending should be set to a minimum of two per cent of GDP in accordance with the UK’s NATO commitment,”

is indeed that of the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn).

[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]