Situation in the Gulf

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 5:06 pm, 22nd July 2019

I always listen to my right hon. Friend very carefully on all defence matters, and I reassure him that throughout this period we have had close behind-the-scenes discussions with the United States on how we can improve maritime security. HMS Montrose’s 17 transit missions would not have been possible without US logistical support. Indeed, the United States has made a proposal on how we could enhance maritime security more generally. The US asked us to contribute to a maritime force on 24 June, which became a formal request on 30 June, and it formally briefed NATO allies and the Washington diplomatic corps on the proposal last Thursday and last Friday. We will be talking to the US about it later this week.

We think what the United States is saying is helpful and important, and we will seek to co-ordinate any European efforts on freedom of navigation with anything the US does, but we want the UK’s contribution to be to make that coalition as broad as possible.