CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – MILITARY EXPENDITURE & REPLENISHING THE EQUIPMENT GIFTED TO UKRAINE - 05 September 2022

DEFENCE – MILITARY EXPENDITURE & REPLENISHING THE EQUIPMENT GIFTED TO UKRAINE - 05 September 2022

Dr Julian Lewis: Although the commitment to 3% of GDP on defence is welcome, 2030 is further away in time than the entire duration of the second world war. It would be nice to see that commitment, which the Select Committee on Defence originally called for about six years ago, implemented a little sooner than the new Prime Minister plans. Can the Defence Secretary confirm that the extra expenditure on replenishing the arms supplies that we are giving to Ukraine is being met with extra funds from the Treasury reserve? What steps are we taking to ensure that the Russian people get the same message about the failure of Putin’s campaign that the rest of the world can clearly see?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Ben Wallace): On the latter point, in one sense it is sad, because it is people’s lives, but in Russia they cannot ignore the long and continued train of bodies to their loved ones and families. It was not missed by Soviets in the Afghan conflict. The terms “boys in zinc” and “load 200”, which are now in the Russian vocabulary, refer to the planes that brought back the dead bodies: zinc was what they used to wrap them. That is clearly before people in Russia. It is not helped by the misleading, dishonest and manipulative state information that tries to say that these people died fighting Nazis. The only people who are displaying a fascist tendency in Ukraine are the Russian regime; it is not in any way being extolled by the Ukrainians defending their soil. But we obviously do our best.

On the increase to defence funding, some of that £2.3 billion is replacing gifted equipment from our own stocks; that is already being done. We were able to release the GMLRS M270 because we received some others from another country, which we are refurbishing. We will continue to keep pace and make sure that we do not sacrifice too many of our own stocks. At some stages, there are also opportunities when our stocks come out of life or approach their sell-by date and are perfect for gifting, because they will be used. We have already planned to replace them. Some of the NLAW orders are actually quite old, because we knew anyhow that they were coming out of date; they were a 2003 weapon, so we had already started that process. I think it is NLAWs, but I can happily write to my right hon. Friend about the exact weapon system.]