Luke on the Armed Forced Parliamentary Scheme in the Falklands
Luke on the Armed Forced Parliamentary Scheme in the Falklands

I’m proud to have spoken up for our armed forces. As the son of a submariner and someone who lives in Plymouth I know how important the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are for our city. I’m strong on defence and to prove it here’s a selection of my defence campaigns from just the past two years. 

From before I was elected I campaigned against the Tories plan to scrap devonport flagship HMS Ocean

Sadly, the Conservatives ignored my campaign to save HMS Ocean and they sold her at a knock-down price to Brazil.

The campaign I led to save HMSAlbion and HMS Bulwark saw Devonport’s two largest ships saved from being scrapped by the Conservatives.

In my first ever speech in the House of Commons as Devonport’s MP, I made the case for investment in Devonport and the Type 26 frigates to be based.

I led the campaign to base the new Type 26 frigates in Devonport. These new ships are a like for like replacement for the Type 23 ASW Frigates we already have based here. 

I backed the campaign for these world-class Type 26s to be sold around the world to our allies including Australia or Canada

My campaign to name one of the new Type 26 frigates HMS Plymouth – a campaign started by my predecessor – wasn’t successful sadly, but it gave me a chance to say they should be based in Devonport. 

I led a debate in January 2018 calling for more, and more capable, frigates. That includes arguing for weapons upgrades on the new Type 31 frigates.

Building ships in British shipyards matters as it keeps alive our sovereign defence capabilities. I made that case to keep Appledore open in North Devon but Ministers didn’t bring forward any orders and the yard closed.


I’m proud to have backed Babcock’s bid to build the new Type 31 frigates. Babcock’s successful bid means design jobs in Devonport

Now we won the campaign to base the Type 26 frigates in Devonport, I want to see the light Type 31 frigate based in Devonport, Plymouth too

I’m proud to have stood up for our Royal Marines based in Stonehouse. I’ve been campaigning for better facilities and a new long term home for in Plymouth when the Tories plan to close the base in 2027.

I led a debate on the future basing arrangements of the Royal Marines. I was the only Plymouth MP to turn up. Sadly, our local Tories have refuse to work cross-party on many important Plymouth issues 

Tory Ministers have repeatedly promised Plymouth a super base for the Royal Marines. And when they broke that promise, I was sure to call it out. 

I refuse to accept the poor deal that the Tories have given Plymouth. That is why I launched the campaign to recycle the 13 old nuclear submarines tied up in Devonport.

Every old nuclear submarine Britain’s ever had we still have. And that’s why I raised my campaign to recycle these old nuclear subs with Theresa May at PMQs.

I presented my first ever Private Members Bill – Nuclear Submarine Recycling Bill –  to require the government to recycle all the old Navy submarines tied up in Devonport.

Boris Johnson unlawful shutdown of Parliament sadly meant the end of this bill, but my campaign to recycle these old subs continues.

As a result of my campaign, Labour has now become the first and only party to commit to nuclear submarine recycling in its manifesto.

In January 2018 I led the debate on ship building as a member of the APPG on Shipbuilding, where I called for the new RFA Supply Ships to be built in Britain

The RFA Supply Ships should be built in British shipyards be British workers. This is now national Labour Party policy.

Only a few weeks ago, the Conservatives stopped the procurement process for these supply ships. A new process must ensure they’re built in British shipyards.

In 2018, I started a campaign to protect the wrecks of HMS Exeter, a World War II Devonport based war ship sunk in the E. Java Sea that was being raided by metal scavengers. 

I took my campaign to protect the wreck of HMS Exeter to government ministers and asked questions about it in the House of Commons. 

The brave crews of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary serve alongside the Royal Navy in fleets around the world. But the Tories refuse to give them fair pay. So I started a campaign for them to get the pay and the recognition they deserve.

It was a real privilege to witness a Thursday War on the deck of RFA Tidesurge. The Royal Navy could not do what it does without the brilliant RFA 

We have some incredible military facilities in and around Plymouth with some superb experts in their field. It was a privilege to see the fast craft skills myself from HMS Raleigh back in March 

The future of the Royal Navy will be increasingly autonomous. And I’ve met ministers to discuss my idea that Plymouth should be designated as the national centre for marine autonomy excellence.

In my second year as an MP, I was fortunate enough to join the Royal Navy’s Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, to see the ships, bases and training for myself. 

In February 2019 it was a real privilege to visit British troops protecting the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, many of whom are from Plymouth.

I talk a lot about the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, as you would expect as Devonport’s MP. But I have spoken in other defence debates, including this one, on why we need a proper plan to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Nuclear weapons are controversial. They provoke strong views. Clarity is important in this debate: Labour’s long standing and enduring position is to renew Trident. This is in our manifesto, page 101.

In October this year I was appointed Vice Chair of the All Party Armed Forces Group with responsibility for the Royal Marines. (There are no APPGs while Parliament is dissolved for a General Election)

The last Labour government spend more on defence every year as a share of GDP than the Conservatives have since 2010. Read this report from the House of Commons Defence Select Committee on defence spending.

The Tories claim they’re spending 2% of GDP on defence. But they’ve gamed this figure, as they are including war pensions in that figure. They’re actually spending 1.9%. Labour will spend a genuine 2% on defence

Labour announced more policy on defence. That would make a real difference to those serving, their families and veterans in Plymouth. 

The Conservatives in Plymouth want to suggest that I’m not strong on defence. Hopefully just this selection of my campaigns over only the last two years will show otherwise. Re-elect me so I can continue to stand up for Devonport, our Royal Marines, Royal Navy, forces families and veterans. 


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