James Sunderland questions PM on NATO members’ 2% defence contribution

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on the NATO summit in Vilnius, James Sunderland asks the PM how the NATO member countries that are not yet spending 2% of GDP on defence can be encouraged to do so.

James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con)

Having worked in and around NATO for several decades, I am clear that it remains the exemplar for western security. May I please thank the Prime Minister for his exemplary leadership when it comes to the UK contribution? Noting that a significant number of countries are not providing their 2% commitment, does the Prime Minister have any sense on how they might be encouraged—or even coerced—to do so?

The Prime Minister (Rishi Sunak)

What I am pleased to see is positive forward momentum. We see that in, as I said, not just the quantum of defence spending across the alliance but the number of individual countries increasing spending and, indeed, forecast to meet the 2% target next year. It is right that we keep the pressure on, and the new defence investment pledge signed at the summit demonstrates willingness across the alliance that defence spending does need to increase and a recognition of the threats that we face, but also that a number of countries, including the UK, have been leading on this issue for some years.