Strategic Defence Review

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the House of Commons at 2:33 pm on 10 May 1999.

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Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Shadow Spokesperson (Defence) 2:33, 10 May 1999

May I offer my thanks to the Secretary of State for inviting me to accompany him on his recent visit to the Balkans? As someone who supported both the process and the policy conclusions of the defence review, may I urge him to be realistic about what is necessary for United Kingdom defence in the light of the current and inevitable future commitments in the Balkans? Does he accept that the 3 per cent. annual efficiency saving, which is incumbent on the Ministry of Defence, is not just "challenging"—as it was publicly described by the Chief of the Defence Staff—but is in truth unachievable without an enduring impact on defence capability? Does he further understand that the Government should feel no embarrassment in reviewing the defence budget, but should take the opportunity to demonstrate sound common sense?