That information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate time and effort. Each candidate for Her Majesty's armed forces, and for the Civil Service, must meet certain nationality and residence rules in order to be eligible for consideration for a post and each case is individually examined at the time of application.
I understand that the Ministry of Defence has more than half a million United Kingdom-based staff apart from its overseas staff. We should be able to ascertain how many British and foreign citizens are employed, directly or indirectly, by the Ministry of Defence. Will my hon. Friend assure me that every effort will be made to ensure that British citizens are given every consideration when they apply for posts that are held by foreign citizens, so that the maximum number of British staff are employed by the Ministry?
My hon. Friend's figure is not right. We are talking about 500,000 employees overall—service men and those on the civilian side, both here and abroad. There is no management or other requirement to provide a global nationality breakdown of service personnel and civil servants. However, I shall take into account my hon. Friend's point about United Kingdom citizens. Let me take West Germany as an example. We employ about 25,000 locally there, and probably the vast majority are German.
How many British citizens or other citizens are likely to be deployed on the new aircraft carrier, or through deck cruiser, the Ark Royal? Will the Minister confirm, or deny, that, after tens of millions of pounds have been spent on that aircraft carrier, no troops, sailors or aircraft will be specifically designated for it?
In terms of our planning and the size of the fleet, we believe that there is a sensible equation between the numbers that we shall employ in our Navy and the numbers that we shall require.