John Baron MP presses Government on Royal Navy capabilities

July 20, 2017

MP says strong Armed Forces can make conflict less likely

Having recently launched his foreign policy report examining the negative effects of cuts in diplomatic and defence spending over successive governments [please see ‘Notes to Editors’ below], John Baron MP asked during defence questions yesterday,

“What assessment the Defence Secretary has made of whether the Royal Navy has sufficient personnel to operate (a) all vessels and (b) the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers?”

The Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster MP, replied that the Navy was expanding in size, taking on a further 400 people this year.

John then asked,

“Given concerns that we are hollowing out our armed forces’ manpower in favour of big-ticket items, what is the Minister, and indeed the Government, doing to ensure that we not only have the manpower to operate those big-ticket items but the ships to protect them when at sea? Global uncertainties abound, and over 90% of our trade is maritime borne?”

The Minister of State replied that the Navy is commissioning offshore patrol vessels, as well as the new Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

Afterwards, John said,

“There is little value in big-ticket assets like aircraft carriers if our Armed Forces have insufficient manpower to crew them effectively. The Government should give serious consideration to spending more on defence and halting the damaging personnel reductions suffered by all three services over recent years.”

“More broadly, maintaining a well-resourced and capable military sends a strong message to allies and potential adversaries alike that you are not withdrawing from the international stage. It can also act as a strong deterrent, and thereby make conflict less likely.”

Date: 11th July 2017

Notes to Editors:

· John’s report, entitled ‘Hard Choices: Britain’s Foreign Policy for a Dangerous World’, is available online at:’Hard%20Choices%20-%20Britain’s%20Foreign%20Policy%20for%20a%20Dangerous%20World’%2C%20by%20John%20Baron.pdf.

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