New Forest East



Sir Julian Lewis: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way. I know that he is coming towards the end of his speech. Would he care to remark on a couple of slightly more optimistic features of deterrence, because deterrence of conventional forces depends on far more than an equal balance of equipment, even though, as he says, we are nowhere near achieving that? It also depends on our allies and others who will fight in the same cause. Does he not accept that it is not just enough to take our defence spending up to 3% or more, such as the 5% we regularly spent through the cold war, but essential to ensure that our American allies remain totally involved in the deterrence process and that the Ukrainians succeed in fending off Russia, because if they succeed we can contain Russia in the future, as we successfully did in the past?

[Mr Mark Francois: I agree with every word my right hon. Friend, the former eminent Chairman of the Defence Committee, just said. My one caveat is that the MOD’s excuse for these capability gaps is that we can rely on allies to fight with us. But they will be relying on us, and if we are unable to support them or they are on wartime tasks elsewhere, things might go horribly wrong. …]

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Sir Julian Lewis: I am grateful to the Minister for allowing me to intervene. I did not apply to speak in this debate because I could not be sure that I would be here at the end. Will he impress upon the House how our aid to Ukraine is vital because, if Ukraine successfully thwarts Russia, all those dread scenarios about an attack on NATO will not happen? Similarly, although President Trump is a worry, it is at least a relief that he has begun to say that, provided Europe does its bit, he will continue with America’s support for NATO, should he be elected.

[The Minister for Defence Procurement (James Cartlidge): My right hon. Friend makes an excellent point. The hon. Member for Rochdale (George Galloway) accuses us of imperialism in how we deploy our armed forces, but the whole purpose of our support is precisely to help Ukraine resist the imperialism of the Kremlin that he has shamefully supported while condemning what he calls the “Zelensky regime”. We heard him say it, and it is absolutely shameful.]