Royal Navy

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 29th October 2001.

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Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow Anniesland 2:30 pm, 29th October 2001

What plans he has to review his Department's strategy on the Navy.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State informed Dr. Lewis in an earlier answer, we will be conducting work designed to ensure that our concepts, force structures and capabilities, including those of the Royal Navy, are exactly those that we need to meet the challenge of the kind of asymmetric threat that we saw on 11 September. That work will look both at the defence of the UK and at our capability to counter and deter terrorism abroad.

Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow Anniesland

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. Does he agree that the constant review of how we deal with situations such as Kosovo and Afghanistan, especially in relation to our Navy, is of paramount importance? Will he make a statement at a later date on what has been learned from the present conflict and on how he sees the future of the Navy?

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

With regard to the latter point, we are entering a process of considering the challenge posed by the asymmetric threat that we experienced on 11 September. That was presaged anyway in the strategic defence review. Clearly, we will need to engage as many people as possible in understanding the extent of that problem. At the end of the process, a statement will be required as to how we go forward in terms of a new chapter of the strategic defence review.

On the Navy, we remain committed to the two ALSLs—alternative landing ship logistics—that are to be built at Govan and the type 45 orders announced earlier this year. Discussions are continuing to finalise certain aspects of those contracts, but I am sure that my hon. Friend will want to discuss the matter further when they are announced.