Carrier Strike Group Deployment - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:01 pm on 28 April 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Goldie Baroness Goldie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 7:01, 28 April 2021

First, I say to the noble Lord that his youthful demeanour belies that he was commanding this impressive operation—I think it was Ocean Wave—in 1997. I am grateful to him for powerfully encapsulating the potential that a carrier strike group has. He made the point extremely well.

As the noble Lord is aware, we have a shipbuilding programme in place; he and I have exchanged views on that in the Chamber. I think it is a healthy programme; I detected from a meeting this morning that it has excited Navy Command and people there feel a sense of purpose and anticipation. I am delighted about that, because, as the noble Lord would agree, morale within our Armed Forces is very important. So I am pleased to confirm that.

On the fleet solid support ships, the noble Lord will probably be aware this is at a critical stage of contract progress, where consideration will be given to the award of a contract. I am constricted in what I can say about that, but he will know that the Secretary of State has been clear about his desire to proceed with augmenting the solid support ship fleet, and I anticipate we may be able to disclose more on that front in the not too distant future.