As the NATO Summit begins in Vilnius, Jason gave a speech last week in Parliament about the important role of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, on which he proudly serves.
Transcript from Hansard
Jason McCartney MP
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Sharma. I congratulate my Yorkshire colleague, my right hon. Friend the Member for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke)—the leader of the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly —on securing this important debate. As a Royal Air Force veteran, I am particularly proud to serve on the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and I am delighted to take part in this debate.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has a critical role in building multilateral relations across Europe and the entirety of our alliance, and it is fitting that we recognise that. The Assembly is an essential link between NATO and the Parliaments of NATO member states. The Assembly has remarkable success in achieving its core principles: fostering dialogue among parliamentarians on major security issues; facilitating parliamentary awareness of key alliance policies; providing NATO and its member Governments with an indication of collective parliamentary opinion; providing greater transparency of NATO policies, as well as collective accountability; and strengthening our transatlantic relationship.
NATO is not just the bedrock of British security but the guarantor of peace for almost all of Europe. Following the cold war, many questioned whether NATO still had a role to play in the modern world, but with British tanks in Estonia, American HIMARS donated to Ukraine and the recent accession of Finland, with Sweden soon to follow, we can clearly see just how relevant NATO remains today.
I am incredibly proud of the UK’s track record on our place in NATO. We consistently meet the 2% defence spending target and have the most advanced aircraft carriers at sea today, forming a vital part of NATO’s blue-water capacity. Our soldiers are proud to take part in the rapid response force, the joint expeditionary force, which is ready to deploy anywhere, at any time, to defend our alliance.
More widely, NATO and the Parliamentary Assembly have been resolute in our protection of British values at home and abroad. There have been repeated commitments to a NATO centre for democratic resilience over the years. I look forward to its implementation, so that democracy is defended not just militarily but socially from the disinformation campaigns of countries such as Russia, Iran and China, which seek to paint NATO as an aggressor rather than what it really is: a community of like-minded free nations that want to be defended against aggression.
It is clear that our digital and democratic resilience will be critical to our security in the years to come. Through fantastic bodies such as the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, we can work together to fight autocratic encroachment into our institutions. The upcoming summit in Lithuania is a chance for us to discuss what our vision is, not just for NATO, but for Ukraine in NATO. I believe fundamentally that we have to continue to help and support Ukraine as much as humanly possible in its heroic fight against the unwarranted and illegal Russian invasion. While being aware of the importance of not escalating things further, we have to send the clear message to anyone who would seek to start a war in Europe: “You will pay dearly, and you will not succeed.”
I am certain that in Vilnius, the British representative, accompanied by our Prime Minister, will make the case for deepening our bilateral and multilateral relations across the alliance, and keeping up the pressure among our allies to continue our support for Ukraine. Our message at this conference to our allies and Ukraine should be really clear: give them the tools and they will finish the job.