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Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:22 pm on 20th June 2018.

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Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon Conservative, Sevenoaks 5:22 pm, 20th June 2018

We continued in my time to keep that particular decision under review. There was not a particular year when all the troops were due to come home, and it was something that we watched particularly carefully as the plans for an enhanced forward presence in Estonia and Poland were developed. It is important, therefore, to be sure about whether the equipment is pre-positioned in the right places and whether it is ready to reinforce in the way that the right hon. Gentleman and I would want.

Finally, I hope that we will find ways beyond this debate of explaining the importance of NATO here at home—of explaining its success since 1949, as well as its obligations—to a new generation who do not, in this country, face conscription, but who are protected day and night by fresh cohorts of marvellous young men and women who step forward to serve in our armed forces. There is a compact there that I believe needs to be better understood. I hope this never happens, but when we next have to send our young men and women into military action wearing the blue beret, I think that we will regret that we did not do more to educate our public about the importance of NATO and the obligations that come with it. That said, I wish my hon. Friends every success at next month’s summit.