A Question To The Prime Minister

Today is the Parliamentary debate on Libya. MPs’ response to Friday’s statement by the Prime Minister suggests that there will be strong support for the military action. Our Armed Forces will know that they have the backing of the whole country.

It is also important that MPs exercise oversight of how our Armed Forces are kitted out. To do this we need appropriate information from the government, so we can seek to ensure that the right procurement choices are made.

On Friday I asked the Prime Minister about the decision to decommission our current aircraft carrier capability, and whether this should now be reconsidered:

Simon Hoggart wrote up the exchange as follows in his Parliamentary sketch:

Then the laudatory slathering. Labour’s Mike Gapes offered congratulations. So did the Tory Richard Ottaway, “as one of the doubting Thomases”, now praising a “remarkable diplomatic success”.

It was left to Mark Reckless, another Tory, to point out that the Ark Royal filled with Harriers would be the perfect weapon, except that they are being decommissioned. Mr Cameron had little response to that, except to say that other countries weren’t using aircraft carriers.

I was surprised to read in yesterday’s Sunday Times both that:

France, which had 20 aircraft in the air last night, will send its only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, into acton today.

…and that…

At RAF high command in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, senior officers concluded that the most flexible rapid response force would be aircraft stationed on a carrier off the Libyan coast. But there was no carrier nor any planes to fly off one since the Ark Royal’s Harrier GR9 jump jets had been retired in December. So the planners considered another possibility.

They wondered whether they could bring some of the Harriers back into service and deploy them on a former container ship, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Argus, making vertical take off and landings.


2 responses to “A Question To The Prime Minister

  1. Ark Royal and Harriers should not be de commissioned …….yet! We live in too far a volatile world and the Libya actions underline this. Mark is right to question the decision which, fundamentally is wrong. We are taking a joint action totally legal re assisting innocent people. There is only one correct vote today, yes support the action but within defined battle actions.

  2. Congratulations to the Prime Minister and the Government for totally destroying the Royal Air force and Royal Navy, leaving them without Aircraft or any Carrier capability, he who commands the Air wins the day, look at history, Falklands being a clear example.
    There are some things that cannot be run with just budgets in mind, how simple would it have been to deploy Ark Royal with its Harrier jets off the coast of Libya, Also you also cannot deploy Harriers to Fleet Auxiliary ships, they cannot take of vertically with a full fuel and weapons load.

    Carriers/Harriers for now Carrier /F35 JSF future, if not lets get a Prime Minister that keeps us out of wars, and sack the high Command for letting this happen, that will save us a fortune.

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