He was speaking at Prime Ministers Questions and pointed to a recent report which said the United Kingdom must rediscover the strategic importance of Northern Ireland to its national security.
Commenting, Sir Jeffrey said, “As an integral part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland should play a full part in the life of our nation, and that includes in defence. Recent contracts, including the supply of Thales missile systems to Ukraine and the construction of new Royal Navy support ships at Harland & Wolff show the potential which exists, but Northern Ireland still lags behind the rest of the United Kingdom when it comes to defence spending.
Whilst average MOD spending per head of the population across the UK is £340, in Northern Ireland it is only £60. There is significant untapped potential in Northern Ireland and the industrial base exists for this to be realised. We already have the companies and the expertise within the workforce. Levelling up in this area can deliver a significant economic benefit, but also see a better geographic spread of our defence contracts across the United Kingdom.
The Prime Minister rightly pointed to the Government’s commitment made within the “Safeguarding the Union” command paper to strengthening Northern Ireland’s defence industries. It is these practical measures alongside the other progress within that paper that can ensure we build a better and more prosperous Northern Ireland.”