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Defence Spending — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:13 am on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 10:13 am, 16th July 2019

It is always a pleasure to speak in these debates. I congratulate Anne-Marie Trevelyan on setting the scene, and thank all right hon. and hon. Members who have contributed.

Like others in this Chamber, I am massively concerned about defence spending, as every hon. Member in this place should be. We are known as a world leader, and for that to be in any way meaningful, it must follow that our defence is top class and that the men and women who wear the uniform of this great country—the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—are irrefutably the best in the world. The very clear fact is that we do not do as well by them as they do by us.

We sit at the NATO target of 2% GDP for defence, but I cannot quite figure out why that figure means that we are doing okay. Some have outlined to me that while the paper trail can look like 2% GDP, the reality is very different. The Chair of the Defence Committee, Dr Lewis, mentioned the figure of 1.8%, which would not be in order.