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MS4: Falklands Announcement
#1
Madam Speaker,

It is my duty to inform the house that the Royal Navy has deployed 3 surface vessels to the Falklands as part of an affirmation of our responsibility to our citizens but more importantly as a reflection of a new policy to better understand what resources are available in the waters of the Falklands. It is our intention to allow a very limited number of British research vessels to map the sea floor specifically for the purpose of mineral and petroleum exploration. These Royal Navy vessels will conduct escorts for 2 commercial vessels at a time while a single vessel remains on standby in Port Stanley.

We understand the sensitivity of these operations and the need to contribute to a positive balance of peace within the region. As such our deployment is intended to leave a light foot print and we do not anticipate the length of operations extending past six months to a year. For purposes of replinshmsnt it is very likely that participating vessels will be rotated out at the discretion of the Ministry of Defence while maintaining the current balance of 3 vessels at any given time in the Falklands. The Royal Navy deployment is the extent of our operations as it pertains to commercial exploration in the Falklands at the present time.

On the energy front it is our intent to limit our activities to a mapping of resources. At this time our focus is to have as complete a picture of the resources available in the waters of the Falklands. Once complete we will undertake a series of meetings at cabinet and civil service level to determine what next steps if any will be taken.
Defence, Energy, Trade Secretary 1994-
 Westminster North
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#2
Madam Speaker

I thank my Right Honorable Friend for the statement and welcome the action that he is taking. It is comforting to know that this government takes the security of the Falkland Islands seriously and that it is committed to protecting the freedom of commercial operations in the area. Of course, such defensive measures - and I emphasize the word defensive - are only necessary because of the continued aggressive overtures from Argentina with regard to sovereign British territory.
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Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
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#3
Madam Speaker,

I thank the honourable lady for Surbiton for her support and understanding in this sensitive matter. It should be of no surprise to all members of this house that we take the safety and security of our citizens and their assets while in our territory including our waters with significant seriousness. I can report that due to our deterrence in having these Royal Navy vessels in place during the month of November there have been no aggressive actions against our vessels or incursions into our waters. Should this pattern of peace continue it will be very possible to see a scaling back of our current deployment over the next period of time. As we have information given to us I will ensure the house remains informed.
Defence, Energy, Trade Secretary 1994-
 Westminster North
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#4
Madam Speaker,

Am I to take it from the right honourable gentleman’s latest comment that having sent a third of the Royal Navy’s available frigates halfway around the world for no reason for a month at a cost of £1.35 million to the taxpayer, he now intends to bring them back in the near future?

I think the whole House would like to know: what the hell was the point of that?
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#5
Hear hear
George Wilson
Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby
Shadow Home Secretary
Socialist Campaign Group
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#6
(10-01-2019, 03:40 AM)Commander David Manning Wrote: Madam Speaker,

Am I to take it from the right honourable gentleman’s latest comment that having sent a third of the Royal Navy’s available frigates halfway around the world for no reason for a month at a cost of £1.35 million to the taxpayer, he now intends to bring them back in the near future?

I think the whole House would like to know: what the hell was the point of that?

Madam Speaker,

This Labour frontbench is befuddling to keep track of. Am I to believe now that Labour supports an indefinite deployment to the Falklands? This is the same Labour that has been moaning in the press and all over creation about efforts we have taken to protect our citizens. Here are the cold facts. The intent here is to provide what is necessary to both reassure our commercial ships operating in Falkland waters and to provide reasonable measures for continued safety and security in an area that while our sovereign territory remains disputed by other countries. As conditions allow we will reduce or maintain our current deployment until the work of mapping the sea floor and its resources is complete.
Defence, Energy, Trade Secretary 1994-
 Westminster North
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#7
Madam Speaker,

Are these exercises for protection or for sea mapping? The gentleman has said earlier in this address it's for sea mapping. He said that was their specific purpose. Now he is coming to us and saying it is for safety. I'm asking the gentleman, very respectfully, to show where there were direct threats prior to deployment. Because the ongoing doubletalk of safety and sea mapping is starting to wear thin. My understanding is that tensions were normalizing. That though they existed, our islands were protected. Has he undershot how long sea mapping takes in his original statement to this house or were this simply muscle flexing that riled up a country?
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#8
Madam speaker,  

It is prudent to expect the worst and anticipate the best when planning outcomes during a deployment. To simply assume that everything will always be sunshine and roses may work for the opposition when creating their wonderland legislation that never seems to get off the ground. But in the real world where lives of our citizens are concerned I will always be prepared to do the responsible thing and ensure adequate protection for our citizens exists and is never far away. Despite the Falklands being ours the mere action of mapping resources could be provocative this it is prudent to ensure we are prepared for all outcomes and as the calculus shows stability to be long lasting we can make adjustments to the original deployment.
Defence, Energy, Trade Secretary 1994-
 Westminster North
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#9
But Madam Speaker,

This action was provocative because of his actions. I know he wants to spin, but he needs to answer the question. By his answer what I am hearing is that there were no clear warnings of imminent threat. Is that true or will he explain what the clear and present danger was to the islands?
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#10
Hear! Hear!

Madam Speaker,

Since the Right Honorable Gentleman is at least willing to discuss this matter, as opposed to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary who have gone to ground, perhaps he can answer this question: did the Government consult with the Government of the United States in this matter? It has obviously had some diplomatic implications based on the reaction in Argentina.
Max Power, Labour
MP for Oxford East (1987-present)
Shadow Foreign Secretary (1994-present)
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