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Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:36 pm on 20th June 2018.

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Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon Conservative, Newbury 5:36 pm, 20th June 2018

It is very useful that we have accepted in this debate that the 2% is a floor—not a flaw, I add to help my hon. Friend Richard Drax—and that as the threats change we may have to raise it.

We must be a critical friend of NATO. In terms of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Sir Hugh Bayley’s voice is in my head when we talk about trying to hold NATO to account for its failure to produce decent, sensible audited accounts. We have a strength in that regard because we are a significant contributor to the alliance; it enables us to do that.

May I finish by paying tribute to the shadow Secretary of State and those Labour Members who are committed to defence? We must work with them on a bipartisan basis, because I do not want to go into an election in which a party that could enter government does not believe in the value of our alliance, does not believe we should keep our nuclear deterrent, and does not believe that article 5 means what it says. Article 5 is the greatest security that has been delivered to our peoples rich and poor, old and young, down the ages since the horrendous carnage of the second world war. That bipartisan nature of our defence debate is very important now, and I hope we can continue to value NATO now and in the future.