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Defence Technical College

Volume 512: debated on Wednesday 23 June 2010

9. What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on the proposed defence technical college at St Athan. (3041)

This proposal is being considered as part of the strategic defence and security review, which was debated in the House on Monday. The review is due to be completed by October and I will ensure that the Secretary of State for Defence is made fully aware of the importance of our armed forces to Wales.

I do not feel sorry for the right hon. Lady; I welcome her wholeheartedly to her post. However, she gave a rather partisan answer to the earlier question about the defence technical college in St Athan, and I urge her to recognise that this issue has involved a cross-party alliance in Wales. All the political parties in Wales have been supporting it, so will she meet a cross-party group of MPs so that they may put the arguments strongly? This is about protecting our armed forces, particularly the soldiers from Wales, who deserve the best training they can possibly get.

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on having raised this matter not once but three times in the past week or so. I have read the replies to him from both the Secretary of State for Defence and the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said:

“Everyone who has spent time in south Wales with the military knows that there is an incredibly strong case for the St Athan defence training establishment.”—[Official Report, 2 June 2010; Vol. 510, c. 430.]

I would be delighted to meet a cross-party group to discuss the future of St Athan. The hon. Gentleman will know that it was one of the first things that I signed up to when I was appointed as shadow Secretary of State for Wales. I will not demur from that support.