On 11th June 2019 Lord Robathan asked the Government “whether the Foreign Secretary’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on 13 May represented a change in their policy on defence expenditure.” The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, as I am sure the noble Earl remembers, the Foreign Secretary, in his Guildhall speech, not only called for new capabilities and higher spending, but went on to set the point of these new capabilities when he said that,
“strength is the surest guarantee of peace”.
Furthermore, last week, in the D-day proclamation, 16 countries, including the United Kingdom, committed to,
“work together to resolve international tensions peacefully”.
Given those two aims, of strong defence as a sure base for peace and the proclamation, does the noble Earl agree that the formation of the joint reconciliation unit within the Stabilisation Unit in the Foreign Office is a major step forward, in that averting war through orchestrated means—including both hard and soft power—is much cheaper than fighting it?
Earl Howe: I agree, and am grateful to the most reverend Primate for drawing attention to the point he made so clearly and well in the debate we had a few weeks ago on the theme of reconciliation. This takes a mixture of efforts across Government, not only from the Ministry of Defence but also through DfID and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. All those budgets contribute to doing precisely what the most reverend Primate is advocating. I fully concur with the prescription he laid out.