Guest Speaker at the Conservative Luncheon Club, chaired by Hilary Seddon, was Dr Andrew Murrison, MP for Westbury. He serves in Liam Fox's Shadow Defence Team, and has been speaking recently about honouring the military covenant between Government and servicemen and women.
Dr Murrison spoke about the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on NATO, and said that we were at a fork in the road, between continuing reliance on NATO on the one hand , and the development of a European defence role on the other. Dr Murrison said that the way forward should be continuing co-operation between NATO allies, rather than the development of European Statehood. He said that France and Germany had a different vision to that of the UK.
Asked about military hospitals, Dr Murrison said that he supported the model of a military unit colocated with a multi-skilled District General Hospital."Our soldiers are entitled to the best, and I believe this model delivers that." He favoured reviewing the role of Haslar Hospital. rather than simply closing it.
He was worried about middle ranking commissioned and non-commissioned officers "voting with their feet" and leaving the services, and felt that our troops were being let down. An incoming Conservative administration would conduct a Strategic Defence Review, and would repeat it every four years, to match commitments with resources.
Dr Murrison addressed a capacity audience, and was thanked by Brigadier Dalton.