15 Jan 2014 : Column 11MC

15 Jan 2014 : Column 11MC

Ministerial Correction

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

European Council

The following is an extract from exchanges on the Urgent Question on the December European Council on 7 January 2014.

Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con): If EU defence is really just harmless intergovernmentalism, why do we have directives that have the force of law in the field of defence? Why do these conclusions include invitation after invitation for the Commission, which is not an intergovernmental institution, to lead on initiatives? Why are we still in the European Defence Agency, which contains expensive provision for qualified majority voting on defence? Is not my right hon. Friend becoming somewhat blind to the fact that we are moving towards a federal defence policy and a European army? He is in denial.

15 Jan 2014 : Column 12MC

Mr Lidington: My hon. Friend is mistaken in his analysis of the EDA. The Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Mr Dunne), who has responsibility for defence procurement, took a very hard line and successfully won a flat-cash settlement for the EDA this year. We held out and it required unanimity for that budget to be agreed. It is simply not the case that we can be overridden by a QMV vote.

[Official Report, 7 January 2014, Vol. 573, c. 182.]

Letter of correction from David Lidington:

An error has been identified in the response given on 7 January 2013.

The correct response should have been:

Mr Lidington: My hon. Friend is mistaken in his analysis of the EDA. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for International Security Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison), who has responsibility for defence procurement, took a very hard line and successfully won a flat-cash settlement for the EDA this year. We held out and it required unanimity for that budget to be agreed. It is simply not the case that we can be overridden by a QMV vote.