Combat Air Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 17th July 2018.

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Photo of Stewart McDonald Stewart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence) 1:30 pm, 17th July 2018

I, too, thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of his statement and pay tribute to the resigning hon. Member for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb). The Scottish National party broadly welcomes the new strategy, but one overarching question is, where on earth is the money coming from? Surely the £20 billion funding gap in the procurement budget will drag many of the aspirations in the strategy to the ground.

May I ask the Secretary of State about spreading the economic benefit around the UK? What will the benefit be to Scotland? Admittedly, it has a small industrial sector in this area—shipbuilding is much bigger—but I certainly hope this is better than the national shipbuilding strategy.

Will the Secretary of State ensure that the currency projections are much better? As National Audit Office pointed out, his Department has been getting them wrong by as much as 25% in some cases.

How will this strategy complement the modernising defence programme? Where on earth is that programme? The House may rise on Thursday, and I would not dream of robbing the Secretary of State of his moment in the sun at the Dispatch Box. Will he ensure it is not sneaked out in a written statement, so he does not avoid scrutiny?