Gibraltar is a “massively significant base” for Britain during troubled times, the UK Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning said at the end of a four-day visit to the Rock.
Mr Penning made the statement as he insisted that the Ministry of Defence would work closely with unions on plans to reduce the civilian workforce here through a voluntary redundancy programme.
And he confirmed that the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, would visit Gibraltar perhaps as early as November next year but certainly by Easter of 2018.
“Queen Elizabeth, the new aircraft carrier, will be here,” he told the Chronicle.
“She will moor in Gibraltar.”
The length of Mr Penning’s visit to Gibraltar is highly unusual and underscores both the Rock’s importance to UK defence and the British Government’s commitment to maintaining its military presence here.
During his time on the Rock Mr Penning visited military installations and toured British waters on a Royal Navy patrol boat as part of an extensive briefing on the Gibraltar’s capabilities.
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