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NATO Warsaw Summit

Volume 612: debated on Monday 27 June 2016

The National Security Council has considered the UK’s preparations for the Warsaw summit next week, which is an opportunity to build on the success of the summit that we hosted in Wales in 2014. Our intention at Warsaw is to demonstrate a united alliance that is adaptable, transparent, and capable of planning for and responding to the full range of threats that we face today.

Today the United Kingdom is seen as an ineffective, unreliable partner in global affairs, as highlighted not by Opposition Members, but by a former general and supreme commander of NATO, Admiral Stavridis. Reflecting on the admiral’s words, what does the Secretary of State think that his Government can achieve in Warsaw?

I hope that we can further reassure NATO members on the eastern flank that we stand by our commitment in the face of Russian aggression. I hope that we continue to make the alliance more flexible to deal with the new threats we face, particularly from cyber and hybrid warfare, and that through British leadership we will encourage other allies to meet the 2% commitment that we are already meeting this year.

I hope the Secretary of State is aware that we cannot hide behind the fig leaf of a percentage of GDP, and that we need NATO membership and partnership more than ever before, given last Thursday’s dreadful result in the referendum. We have only 100,000 people in our defence forces—we could get them all in Wembley. Let us have a stronger NATO and a greater partnership against Russia with Europe.

We have more than 100,000 members in our armed forces, but I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of NATO. Because we are withdrawing from the European Union, it will be all the more important to reinforce our commitment to NATO and the obligations of NATO membership. That is why we lead in complying with the 2% commitment, and he will hear from the Warsaw summit about additional deployments that we are now likely to make to the eastern flank.