Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard has criticised further delays to the Government’s Modernising Defence Review this week.
Key decisions for Plymouth’s Royal Navy and Royal Marines were expected in the review. There has been continued speculation that Devonport based HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark and 1,000 Royal Marines could be cut. The base porting of the Type 26 Frigates was also expected to come in this month’s review
A written statement published on 19 July by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson MP makes no mention of Plymouth’s Royal Navy and Royal Marines as a decision looks to have been pushed back once again.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“This week’s announcement doesn’t give us any answers we are looking for. Ministers promised that the defence review would report before the NATO summit at the start of July, but that came and went without the review being published. Then they promised it before the summer recess and all we have got is a short statement that says nothing about basing of frigates, whether the amphibious ships will be saved from cuts and whether the Royal Marines will continue to be based in Plymouth.
Uncertainty hits morale hard and the uncertainty this latest round of defence cuts is having is hugely damaging to morale or those in uniform and their families.
Promises to give us clarity before summer have been broken and now the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will have to wait until the autumn to find out if they are safe or will lose their job. This is not the way our armed forces should be treated by any Government. We know the Government is paralysed and split over Brexit but the day job must go ahead despite Brexit but it is clear that this is not happening. It is time the Prime Minister got a grip and published the full defence review that gives our men and women in uniform the resources and pay they need to protect our country and our allies in uncertain times.”
- Written statement by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson MP can be found here on 19 July Modernising Defence Programme – Update’: