On Monday 9th October, Gary Streeter MP and I wrote to the Secretary of State for Defence regarding the amphibious fleet, particularly about the proposals leaked last week on HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark and the subsequent impact upon the Royal Marines and Plymouth.
The text of the letter is below, but you can see a PDF copy of the letter here.
|The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP|
Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
Our Ref: ZA9002
We write formally to you to place on record our deep concerns at the proposals leaked last week surrounding the loss of the UK’s amphibious capability, and its impact upon the future of the Royal Marines, and Devonport as the home of the amphibious fleet.
We recognise that this is just one proposal being considered to bring the defence budget back under control, but we need to alert you to the impact we believe this would have both economically and politically upon our region. Coming on the back of the Governments repeated commitments to Plymouth – such as the positive rebasing strategy announced last year – it is becoming increasingly difficult for Plymouth based military personnel to feel settled and valued.
We believe it to be short-sighted and dangerous to downgrade the significant contribution that the Royal marines make to our overall defence capability. It would be hard for them to deploy in the future without sufficient specialist vessels to deliver them rapidly wherever they need to be.
We ask you to urgently confirm that this proposal will not be taken forward. If that assurance cannot be given, we request an urgent meeting with you to discuss these proposals in detail.
Johnny Mercer MP Gary Streeter MP