James GRAY   Conservative MP for North Wiltshire

During yesterday’s Questions to the Secretary of State for Defence, North Wiltshire MP James Gray described the new US administration’s support for NATO as encouraging, but said that some of their less helpful remarks were a useful wake-up call to all NATO members to modernise and spend the agreed minimum of 2 per cent on defence.

Mr Gray said:

“The Prime Minister securing the President’s 100 per cent support for NATO, along with General Mattis’s support for NATO, is hugely encouraging, but does [the Secretary of State for Defence] not agree that some of the less than helpful remarks the President might have made about NATO in recent weeks and months are actually quite a useful wake-up call to NATO? We need to modernise some aspects of the administration of NATO, and we need to say to our NATO partners that they have to step up to the mark and pay their 2 per cent like we do.”

Responding, the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, agreed and said that the US President had called on members to commit to the 2 per cent target.

Sir Michael Fallon said:

“Exactly. The new President has called for NATO members to fulfil the commitments we agreed—the UK and the United States agreed—back at the Wales summit in 2014. A number of other NATO members still have a long way to go to meet the 2 per cent target. We also agree with the new President that we need to continue to modernise NATO to make it effective as a response and as a deterrent.”