1997 Onwards -
Below is the text of Mr Major’s Commons Speech on the Rapid Reaction Force in November 2000.
MR JOHN MAJOR:
Mr Major: Is the Secretary of State [Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Defence] aware that on many strategic issues since the last election I have either supported the Government or remained silent, conscious of their mandate? I have always favoured European co-
Equally dangerously, the Secretary of State might reflect that, over time, what is proposed may even begin to erode our security arrangements with the United States which the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary will know about, which have worked immeasurably to the advantage of the United Kingdom.
The fact is that this is a political proposal, and an unwise one. Those of us in the previous Government would not have made it. The Secretary of State and the Government know that. The right hon. Gentleman has tried to hide behind a grotesque distortion of our policy, which is not what I would have expected from him.
The proposal comes from the Prime Minister. Where is he? He should have been here. The Prime Minister has blundered into a misconceived political proposal that should never have been made. It is profoundly not in our national interest, and should be dropped without delay-