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Nato Summit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 16th July 2018.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 3:40 pm, 16th July 2018

The right hon. Gentleman raises a number of issues. He talks about President Trump’s intervention at the NATO summit, and President Trump has made a difference. We share the President’s view that we want to see allies all stepping up to meet the commitment they gave at the summit here in Wales in 2014 to spend 2% of their GDP on defence, and to spend 20% of that on equipment. That is something we meet, as do a limited number of other NATO members, obviously including the United States of America.

President Trump’s making this point about burden sharing has made a difference. As I said in my statement, in just the last year we have seen an extra $41 billion added to defence budgets across the NATO allies. There was a real sense at this summit, following the discussion that he initiated, that we will see not just people stepping up to meet their 2% target, but an increased urgency in doing so.

The right hon. Gentleman asks about Germany and its relationship with Russia. Can I just say to him that Germany was one of the many countries in Europe and across the rest of the world that stood shoulder to shoulder with the United Kingdom after the attack in Salisbury? Germany did expel Russian intelligence officers and took a very firm view in relation to Russia.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about arms exports. Of course, as he knows, we have one of the strongest arms export regimes in the world, and all decisions are taken very carefully against the background of that. He talks about our future relationship with the European Union. We will have a fully independent defence and foreign policy, but we will work with our European Union allies where it is right to do so, just as we will continue to work within NATO.

The right hon. Gentleman talks about how we ensure that we have security around the world. Well, NATO has been the backbone of Europe’s security for the years in which it has been in place. We continue to support NATO, and it sounds as if he has changed his mind about NATO, because it was not that long ago that he said about NATO, “I’d rather we weren’t in it,” and, “Why don’t we turn it around and close down NATO?” Well, we are not going to close down NATO. The United Kingdom will continue to contribute to NATO as the backbone of European security and wider security around the world.