Dr Julian Lewis: If we want the United States to help defend our interests in Europe, it is only right that we should help it defend common interests in the far east. Does the Secretary of State accept that having Americans intimately involved in this whole process adds to the deterrent effect of a carrier strike force? We do not want to get, in the digital age, into a situation where a surface ship, no matter how powerful, up against a peer enemy armed with hypersonic missiles, might find itself at a fatal disadvantage, but for the deterrent effect of our joint activity with our strategic allies.
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Ben Wallace): I note my right hon. Friend’s final phrase, “strategic allies”. Not only are they allies, but they make a strategic difference, and they stand for the rule of law and the same values we do. Today, I met the US commander on the Queen Elizabeth. He said not only that it was an amazing ship, but that they look forward to working with us. As my right hon. Friend said, it is about partnership: “You attack us, you attack us all” is a strong message around the world. The number of people from different countries around the world who have got in touch wanting to be part of this deployment speaks volumes about what is going on in their neighbourhood and their backyard. Finally, as my right hon. Friend rightly says, the United States has always been a significant net contributor to the security of Europe; it is only right that we do the same when its interests are under threat.]