Modernising Defence Programme - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:24 pm on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Newnham Baroness Smith of Newnham Liberal Democrat 8:24 pm, 18th December 2018

My Lords, as the noble Earl has just said, the present document is very detailed, yet in many ways it appears to be a glossy brochure with a lot of aspirations. These remind me rather of the vagueness that we get on what Brexit might look like. There do not appear to be clear strategies for where the Government want to go. Can the noble Earl explain what £160 million might actually be able to deliver? I think it is about the equivalent of two F35s, and I am not quite sure how will keep this one step ahead of our adversaries. I also come back to the question raised by my noble friend Lord Campbell about the exchange rate because hedging is one thing, but we are moving towards a one-for-one rate in the pound to the dollar. Is it really credible to say that the Government have hedged all of our defence budget in that way?