Gareth today asked Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappy about Britain's role within NATO as he commented on the maiden voyage of the UK Carrier Strike Group, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Speaking in the House of Commons chamber, Gareth said:
'I welcome the maiden voyage of the UK carrier strike group, which set off this weekend. It is NATO’s first fifth-generation carrier strike capability and will join a number of NATO exercises along the route. Will the Minister outline how that demonstrates the Prime Minister’s commitment to Britain remaining NATO’s key European ally? How will it advance our collective security in the Euro-Atlantic region?'
In response, the minister reaffirmed the UK's commitment to Euro-Atlantic security and the continuing importance of NATO:
'In the past few weeks the carrier strike group has participated in Exercise Strike Warrior and in the next few weeks it will participate in Exercise Steadfast Defender, but that is not the totality of the Royal Navy effort in the Euro-Atlantic in the next few weeks. Indeed, the littoral response group north is sailing for the Baltic, where she will participate over the next few weeks in Baltops. This is not a flash in the pan: the Royal Navy and the rest of our armed forces are committed all year round to showing that Euro-Atlantic security is the absolute bedrock of the United Kingdom’s security.'
The HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the UK's two new carriers, embarked on her maiden deployment this week, leading a carrier strike group on a 20,000-mile voyage to the Indo-Pacific and back. Exercising with Britain's allies and partners along the way, the voyage will demonstrate the importance the UK attaches to freedom of the seas.