Prime Minister Theresa May has assured Parliament of her Government’s continuing commitment to NATO after the UK leaves the European Union, following a question from Victoria Atkins MP at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (Wednesday).
Ms Atkins, MP for Louth and Horncastle, drew the Prime Minister’s attention to the imminent NATO deployment to Romania of RAF personnel and aircraft from RAF Coningsby, and praised them for their defence of hard-pressed countries from the ‘bullying tactics’ of Putin’s Russia.
Ms Atkins said: “The Royal Air Force is preparing to fly Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in my constituency to Romania to support our NATO allies on the border with Russia. That is happening as President Putin is locking up his political opponents and crushing calls for democracy.
“Will my Right Honourable Friend confirm that, as we leave the European Union, the United Kingdom will continue to lead NATO in defending that vital border, and will she pay tribute to the members of the armed forces who safeguard our democracy at home and abroad?”
The Prime Minister responded: “I am very happy to join my Honourable Friend in paying tribute to the men and women of our armed forces. They are the best in the world. They work tirelessly to keep us safe, and we owe them every gratitude for doing so.
“I can also assure her that our commitment to collective defence and security through NATO is as strong as ever. We will meet our NATO pledge to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence in every year of this decade, and we plan to spend £178 billion on the equipment plan to 2025.
“My Honourable Friend referred to the work being done by the Royal Air Force in relation to Romania. With NATO, we are deploying a battalion to Estonia and a reconnaissance squadron to Poland, and I think that shows our very clear commitment to our collective security and defence.”