As I knock on local doors, some constituents have asked me about my position on defence and defence issues. I was pleased that yesterday I was joined by the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, to discuss national defence and how that affects the huge numbers of local people employed in the armed forces and defence industry.
I took the Secretary of State to visit Alford Technologies in Chippenham – an award-winning local employer that specialises in developing highly innovative explosive tools to support bomb disposal and the safe clearance of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Alford products are used by militaries, police, law enforcement and commercial companies from across the globe. It is are a great example of an innovative, world-leading company in the heart of Chippenham and I am happy to give them my full support.
There is more global uncertainty at the moment than there has been for a number of decades. We face a wide range of complex, sophisticated and dangerous threats. These include horrific civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the military bluster of Vladimir Putin on Europe’s borders and the risk of domestic terrorism.
Personally, I don’t believe this is the time to ditch the ultimate insurance policy – our nuclear deterrent. The world is an uncertain place now and we have no idea what the global security situation will be in the years to come.
This Government plugged the £38bn black hole in the defence budget that was inherited from the Labour years. I believe that it is now time to invest in the best available, hi-tech equipment for our armed forces to keep us, and themselves, safe.
I welcomed the investment made to look after our personnel and their wellbeing but more is still needed especially with career assistance after leaving the Forces. This is something that the Conservatives have pledged and something that I strongly support.
We need a strong economy to pay for strong defences. We have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO – the first duty of government, the defence and security of the realm.
Over the next Parliament, dealing with terrorism will continue to be one of our country’s most difficult challenges and I hope that we will commit 2% of our GDP to defence in the future.