John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland) (Lab): Thank you, Mr. McWilliam. It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair. I hope that we will have an interesting debate.
I believe that it was Napoleon who once said that military victory results from three parts courage and only one part equipment. I will not quarrel with such a renowned strategist, given that my military experience is confined to the more humble armed forces parliamentary scheme. Nevertheless, I want to focus on the equipment on which our forces rely, what is needed, where it is bought, and how it is made. First, I shall consider the way in which decisions about defence procurement are made, the security of Britain’s defence requirements, and the scarce financial resources with which we must meet those requirements. Secondly, I shall consider in greater detail the marketplace for defence equipment and the role that our Government should play.