UKIP Defence Spokesman Bill Etheridge has slammed an attempted government whitewash in the latest of a long series of delays to the Royal Navy super carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth II as it emerges that divers inspecting the hull of the HMS Queen Elizabeth have discovered that the top coat of paint had failed to adhere properly. The news comes as the current fleet flagship, helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, may be sold to Brazil after twenty years of service in 2018.
When asked previously in Parliament why sea trials for the carrier were being delayed till the summer, when, all along, the spring had been the intended start date the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “It has always been our intention that Queen Elizabeth should be accepted into the Royal Navy before the end of this year. We are not giving specific dates as to when the sea trials are likely to commence.
Then when Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin faced the Commons Defence Committee she was asked by Madeleine Moon, what was behind the delay. She replied “By the very definition of what you’re going through when you’re going through trials is that you’re potentially in that trial process have to make some corrections to something, that’s the whole point of a trial.”
“I want a Navy that is restored to ruling the waves, not a laughing stock, where we have no missiles on our destroyers and no paint or planes on our aircraft carriers.”
“We also see a Government that cannot give an honest answer to a straight question. Fancy trying to whitewash over a bad paintjob.
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said, "Once more we see the potential for serious gaps in capacity emerge after ruthless cuts to our Royal Navy.