The Scotsman: "UK Not Ruling Out Use Of Navy And RAF To Repatriate Britons"


War Hero
"The UK government is not ruling out drafting in the RAF and the Royal Navy to help repatriate stranded British nationals, Dominic Raab has said.

The foreign secretary told MPs that "something like that would be a last resort" but that the government "don't rule anything out.”

Mr Raab was responding to calls from Tory Mark Pritchard for the foreign secretary to work with defence secretary Ben Wallace to deploy the RAF and the navy "to repatriate the most vulnerable.”

He added that the decision to repatriate UK nationals "will have to be taken on an individual basis.”

Mr Pritchard said: "I agree with the foreign secretary, we can't repatriate everybody, it's just physically impossible.

"But following on from the very good question from Mr Benn on questions of exceptional circumstances, on those most vulnerable, and given that we've been told by our own prime minister we are at war with an invisible enemy in the Covid-19 virus, can I ask what discussions he's had with the Ministry of Defence about deploying the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and even using bases around the world as staging posts if needs be, when those international airlines further restrict flights, to repatriate the most vulnerable.

"Not everybody, but the most vulnerable?"

Mr Raab replied: "Obviously I've engaged very closely with the defence secretary on this. But something like that would be a last resort, we don't rule anything out at this stage."

He added that the Foreign Office's focus has been on making sure the government works with international airlines and other countries "to try and get UK nationals back.”

Earlier, senior Labour MP Hilary Benn asked in what "exceptional circumstances" the Government would be prepared to repatriate stranded Britons abroad.He added: "The government doesn't want British nationals to be stranded overseas."

Responding, Mr Raab said: "Constituents reading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice ought to take it on its own terms, not on the basis of any last-resort contingency measures that may be taken down the line.

"Obviously we're very mindful of the vulnerability of all of our constituents.

"Like for example on the Braemar cruise ship which has struggled to find a place to dock in order that we can repatriate the substantial number of UK nationals back to the UK.

"So the decision will have to be taken on an individual basis by all of our constituents and people up and down the country.

"What we do is provide the clearest guidance and unless there is a very good reason, an essential reason to travel, we're saying don't take the risk now because you're at a heightened risk of being stranded in the future."

Outlining the government's current policy on repatriation, Mr Raab added: "It's not so much we won't, it's just a pure question of capacity given the potential range of hundreds of thousands of UK nationals travelling temporarily abroad.""

Yay, another COVID-19 thread!:(
With what ships and airframes? Everything’s either deployed or in maintenance, there’s not fleet sitting around waiting for tasking...

Latest Threads