Royal Navy: UK Economic Interests

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield 12:00 am, 13th March 2017

What international operations the Royal Navy is conducting in support of UK economic interests and the Global Britain campaign; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The 2015 national security strategy strengthens the historic role of the Royal Navy in promoting our national prosperity. Royal Navy ships are deployed today around the globe, from the Falklands to the Gulf and the Caribbean, supporting the UK’s economic interests.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

I thank my hon. Friend for her answer. I believe that she was waving the flag for Britain and our exports with HMS Penzance in Abu Dhabi recently. Does she agree that it is about not just protecting our seaways, but waving the flag and promoting Britain and our exports, particularly those from the west midlands?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Indeed, I was delighted to be welcomed on board HMS Penzance in Abu Dhabi and to thank the crew for the valuable contribution they are making in mine counter-measures. The Royal Navy will deploy ships to various ports throughout 2017. Only last week, HMS Ocean visited Beirut where the ship acted as a showcase for British industry—indeed midlands industry—including Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin.

Photo of Richard Drax Richard Drax Conservative, South Dorset

When the United Kingdom leaves the EU in two years’ time, our military commitments are likely to increase. Will my hon. Friend assure me that we will have enough Royal Navy ships to ensure that our commitments on our shores, on our trade routes, to our dependants and to NATO are met?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the importance of the Royal Navy. Of course, 2017 is the year of the Royal Navy as it prepares to welcome the new aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, offshore patrol vessels and the aircrafts from which to fly.