Ministry of Defence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 26th February 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee 5:45 pm, 26th February 2018

I will not defend what happened in 2010. I was a shadow Defence Minister for slightly longer than the duration of the second world war in the years up to 2010, and I was told retrospectively that the reason I never became a real Defence Minister was that it was known that I would not go along with what they were planning to do. So I am not inclined to lay down my life for the Cameron-Lib Dem coalition of those years. I did not do it then, and I will not do it now.

Having said that, it is all part of a bigger trend, and I come back to my projection of the situation. At the end of the cold war, as we have heard, we took the peace dividend. We had the reductions, which were reasonable under the circumstances. But in 1995-96—the middle of the 1990s and several years after we had taken the peace dividend reductions—we were not spending barely 2% of GDP on defence as we do now, but we were spending fully 3% of GDP on defence. From then on it was downhill all the way—