Following the Integrated Review Refresh, which is backed by growing the defence budget to 2.5 per cent of GDP and reiterates the UK’s recommitment to the AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) partnership, Henry Smith MP has called for the absolute alignment of UK defence and foreign policy interests in the House of Commons (on Monday, 13th March).
The Crawley MP, who sits on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the Government’s commitment to increase defence spending by £5 billion as it continues to grow to 2.5 per cent, and hailed the AUKUS partnership which will build the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines.
Henry spoke in Parliament to call on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Secretary to ensure that Global Britain works to support freedom in Britain and for its allies.
Commenting after speaking in Parliament, Henry said;
“As Global Britain it’s inherent that we stand up for British values on the global stage – values of freedom and democracy which are shared by our allies in Australia, the United States, and throughout the world.
“Key to this is ensuring that UK defence and foreign policy interests are absolutely aligned and to see that our efforts have a key focus on these goals.”
Speaking in the House of Commons, Henry Smith MP asked the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs;
“I very much welcome the commitment to spend 2.5 per cent of GDP on defence, and the recommitment with our American and Australian allies to AUKUS. Will the Secretary of State assure me that there will be absolute alignment of our defence and foreign policy positions, to ensure that Global Britain delivers in the way that it must for our own freedom and that of our allies?”
The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs, James Cleverly, responded;
“My hon. Friend makes an important point. That is why we have moved to Integrated Reviews, recognising that defence, diplomacy, international development and trade policy are all interwoven. To have a truly effective international posture, all those functions of government need to go hand in hand, in close co-ordination with non-governmental organisations such as the BBC World Service. That is why we had the Integrated Review in ’21 and the Integrated Review refresh today. I assure him and the whole House that we will continue to work in close co-ordination across Government to deliver on it.”