North Wiltshire MP James Gray has asked the Government to take steps towards abolishing the European Union's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
"I welcome much of the language used by the Prime Minister at the time of the recent European Council meeting indicating UK's opposition to a move towards European stand-alone defence capabilities of any kind," said Mr Gray during an Urgent Question in the House of Commons yesterday.
"I also very much share the scepticism voiced particularly by Gisela Stuart MP as to whether this is for real. Surely if defence and foreign affairs are the primary and exclusive role of nation states, then now is the time to start moving towards abolishing the CSDP."
Earlier today, Mr Gray added: "The key question is whether or not the CSDP makes any useful contribution to the defence of the Realm, or of the European continent. It is my firm belief that despite the 34 missions undertaken under the CSDP, it really makes no such contribution."
"The missions were all either very minor or could easily have been fulfilled by one or more member states independently. If any recent operation could perhaps have been conducted by the EU acting jointly, it would have been Op Ellamy in Libya, which of course was a joint Franco-British-US effort – a true coalition of the willing."
"It is very hard to imagine that any of the military operations which might theoretically be required in the near future – Syria, Iran for example – could conceivably be conducted by an EU force rather than similar coalitions of the willing."
"Any ongoing enthusiasm for the CSDP will not only continue to undermine the role of NATO, but also increase the risk US withdrawal from European, Middle Eastern and even African defence. Therefore, rather than praising CSDP's questionable contribution to our defence, we really ought to start taking steps towards abolishing it."