With our rich heritage of the Royal Navy locally, I am a keen supporter of our Armed Forces. In an increasingly uncertain and dangerous world, the job they do is more vital than ever in keeping us all safe. I will continue to press ministers to make the Armed Forces a priority.

Fully Equipping Our Aircraft Carriers

On 20th May 2024, I asked the Minister for Defence Procurement about how the increase in defence spending would be used to fully complement our aircraft carriers.

We are rightly proud of our Royal Navy in Fareham, and our aircraft carriers in Portsmouth have created thousands of jobs and been a real asset to our defences.

However, we know that the Carrier Strike group lacks the jets, frigates, destroyers and submarines that were originally planned.

Speaking in the Chamber, I asked James Cartlidge MP, Minister for Defence Procurement:

“In Fareham, we are rightly proud of our world-class aircraft carriers docked in nearby Portsmouth, providing thousands of jobs and being a huge credit to our Royal Navy. However, we all know that neither the Queen Elizabeth nor the Prince of Wales has as many jets, small warships or submarines as originally planned. Will the Minister please tell me how further defence spending will be used to bring online the full complement of F-35 jets, for example, so that our carrier strike group has the full capability to meet the modern threats of today?”

Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme

As a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme from 2015 to 2017 I have visited a number of military facilities, both locally and around the world.  The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which was launched in 1989, opens a unique window into the world of everyday life in the armed forces and the tasks they are asked to undertake on our behalf. The objective of the scheme is to help parliamentarians understand the work of the armed forces and foster genuine personally informed contributions to participate in defence debates.

I joined the scheme in 2016 and visited different branches of the armed forces. Members are given the chance to select which branch of our armed forces they wish to be assigned to: the Royal Navy; the Royal Air Force; or the Army. 

I visited the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Calgary, Canada, as a guest of the Army. I met a wide range of serving troops as they underwent combat training, and met with soldiers from all ranks of the British Army, including those from the Royal Tank Regiment, Tactical Operations, Commanding Flight Officers, Royal Signals, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the light Infantry.

On another visit, I was welcomed onboard HMS Prince of Wales, while it was being built in Rosyth dockyard, where I met the men and women of the Royal Navy who will be responsible for operating the vessel from their future base port of Portsmouth Naval Base. I was given an in-depth tour of the ship’s facilities, weapons stations and flight-deck.

I spent time with troops here in the UK on a number of other deployments. I trained for three days at The Defence Academy, Shrivenham, where I got my hands on the Army’s latest weaponry and took part in live firing using the SA80 assault rifle and the L129A1 sharpshooter rifle, among other weapons. But my longest, and most challenging visit was with 1 Assault Group Royal Marines and 45 Commando during a cold weather training exercise in Norway.

I graduated from the scheme in August 2017. 


Supporting our veterans

I have welcomed a new push from Government to support the country’s veterans.

Last week, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson launched the Veterans Strategy and new cross-Government Veterans Unit.

New bursary for ex-service personnel

I have welcomed a move by the Government that will see pupils in Fareham and across the country benefit from the leadership of our Armed Forces.

Supporting our Armed Forces

I am supporting the Armed Forces Flexible Working Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to support the recruitment and retention of personnel in the Armed Forces by enabling flexible working arrangements for regular service personnel.

Visit to Rosyth Dockyard

I was welcomed on board the nation’s future Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, currently being built in Rosyth dockyard.

Investing in our Royal Navy

Welcome increased investment in the Royal Navy in the Strategic Defence and Security Review