I thank the Minister for that answer. Can he give me an assurance that Royal Marine numbers will not be cut in the foreseeable future and that there will be more joint exercises with our Polish and Baltic states allies?
I am second to none in my admiration for the Royal Marines. Indeed, one of the highlights of my time as Armed Forces Minister has been presenting the green berets to them. I can absolutely assure my hon. Friend that there is a strong future for the Royal Marines as part of our armed forces. Of course, they are currently serving on HMS Albion off the Korean peninsula.
The Minister just mentioned HMS Albion. The sailors and the Royal Marines are serving with distinction in the far east, but their ship is under threat of being cut and they are watching decisions carefully. Can the Minister update us on when he expects to give them reassurance that their ship will not be cut, and can he give an assurance that the decision on Albion and Bulwark will be in the first tranche of decisions announced by his Department?