I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. He and I went to Washington ourselves in calmer times; it now seems decades ago. I was in opposition and he was in government, although he is well qualified to know what opposition is—sadly for him, he has probably spent more time in opposition than government.
There has been a lot of what I would describe as speculation rather than briefing about why I went to Washington; I noticed that yesterday two mainstream media publications gave different reasons for why I went. Fundamentally, President Putin makes his speeches, things change and we need to be absolutely prepared to discuss that with our closest allies. Sometimes it is important to do so in person. I thought it was important after the appointment of the new general, after President Putin’s speech about annexation and during the issues around Ukraine’s success on the battlefield and what that could mean for President Putin, his actions and what happens next.
It is important that we have such discussions in person. I went to the Pentagon and the State Department. I met the National Security Adviser and had other meetings to make sure that we all understand our planning processes about what we would do in the event of a whole range of things.
People should not be alarmed, but I hope they take comfort from the fact that my priority is, if necessary, getting on a plane to go and do that, not dealing with what is currently going on in our mainstream media.