May I, too, send my condolences to the families and friends of those lost on the Indonesian submarine?
Despite the negative coverage on the BBC’s “Today” programme this morning, I welcome this historic deployment by HMS Queen Elizabeth and the ships accompanying her, and I wish them well. Does my right hon. Friend agree that a fighting platform of this kind will prove an invaluable, independent operational base that will give us greater flexibility to cope with a wide variety of tasks in the future?
Mr Wallace (Secretary of State for Defence)
Yes, and it is a long future. This is not a 10-year or 20-year project; these are 30, 40 or maybe 50-year platforms. Who knows what will be flying off those decks in 50 years’ time or 40 years’ time? They are flexible. They are designed to be flexible; they are designed to do a whole range of tasks. We should not forget that it will not always be about peer to peer; the aircraft carriers of the United States and, indeed, the French Charles de Gaulle have often been deployed on counter-terrorism duties and Afghan overflight duties. I think that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be a very busy ship, as will her sister ship, and all the time she will be flying the flag for Britain.