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Defence Spending — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Conservative, Berwick-upon-Tweed 9:30 am, 16th July 2019

The hon. Gentleman’s point is well made. I will refer to submarines later. We need to challenge the Department continually on whether Committees such as the Defence Committee and the Public Accounts Committee, on which I sit, have the tools to look pre-emptively at the risks of those sorts of decisions.

There is also a mantra that technology is changing how we do everything and that it will, as if by magic, solve all challenges. It is implied that it will make everything cheaper, and that we can stop doing things the old way because there will be a whizzy, less manpower-hungry solution. Although it is true that world-leading UK defence businesses are creating extraordinary cutting-edge kit, that is not the only tool for solving our defence challenges. From Florence Nightingale and her medical advances to Alan Turing, the urgent need to gain advantage over the enemy has always brought out the brilliance of our citizens’ inventive genes. Defence has always been at the forefront of innovation because defence in action stretches human ingenuity under the insane pressures of war.