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HMS Queen Elizabeth deploys: City MP pays tribute

For centuries, our city has been a cornerstone of our country’s defence and security.

Our naval history is something we all look back on with immense pride. It is a rich tapestry of significant moments: from as early as 1670 when Portsmouth Dockyard was first established by Charles II in the early formation of the Royal Navy, all the way through to 1998, when the Labour government gave the green light to two new, bigger and more versatile carriers in a watershed moment for UK defence and security.

Soon, we will witness another important milestone in both our city’s and our country’s history, as the largest of these two carriers sets sail on her maiden voyage around the world from HMNB Portsmouth.

Covering over 26,000 nautical miles, alongside our friends from the US and Holland, on her voyage she will be working with Britain’s allies from all over the world, including, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Japan, UAE, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel, India, Oman and South Korea.

Providing a cutting edge on the carrier’s flight deck will be eight state-of-the-art RAF F-35B Lightning II fast jets. Alongside will be four Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine helicopters and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters – the greatest quantity of helicopters assigned to a single UK Task Group in a decade. A remarkable accomplishment.

Weighing in at 65,000 tonnes, HMS Queen Elizabeth is the most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history and the Carrier strike Britain will be leading will be the largest concentration of maritime and air power in a generation.

Longer than parliament and taller than Nelson’s column, this is the best of British engineering. She was built across six dockyards – Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Rosyth, Tyne, and of course Portsmouth – bringing together a combined effort of over ten thousand British men and women to piece her together.

I want to thank them and the crew who will be joining the Carrier Strike Group on this historic voyage, and I know I speak for all of us in wishing them the best of luck and a safe journey.

Stephen Morgan MP