Speaking on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to the crew of the vessel and the invited media.

Unfortunately despite being invited to Portsmouth for the event, we were unable to appear but we were able to get hold of a transcript and one of our reporters was able to live stream the entry of the vessel..

May said:“It is a great pleasure to be here with you aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth today. Let me start by thanking you all, a great partnership of ship’s company and contractors, for your tremendous work putting this great ship through her paces during her sea trials. I know it’s been a major undertaking.

This is the biggest and most complex warship ever built for the Royal Navy. So to test her capabilities thoroughly, and to make sure that her 17 million components are working as they should, is a very big job. The fact that she was ready to come in to port ahead of schedule is testament to your hard work.

As the first generation of sailors to form this ship’s company, you have a special privilege and responsibility. You are setting the standard for those who come after you. Decades from now, when this ship is carrying our flag around the world, protecting our interests and ensuring our security, you will be able to look back on this time with pride. And the whole country is proud of you. The skill and professionalism of the Royal Navy are world-renowned. Your service is critical to our country’s security and success in the world. In doing your vital work, you and your families are often called upon to make enormous sacrifices.

I know that you make them unstintingly and that you always give of your best. Britain truly has the best sailors, marines and officers in the world and I believe that you deserve the very best equipment. That is what we have with HMS Queen Elizabeth. This ship is a symbol of the United Kingdom as a great global, maritime nation.

Clearly, she is a stunning piece of twenty-first century engineering and a true testament to British shipbuilding and design. Six shipyards from across the United Kingdom contributed sections of this vessel. In Glasgow, Devon, Tyneside, Merseyside, Portsmouth and Fife, the skill of British shipbuilders were on display in her construction. Over 10,000 people, including 800 apprenticeships, 700 businesses helped build the mighty ship we see today. We are determined to build on the success of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers with a National Shipbuilding Strategy to open up new opportunities for our great British shipyards in the future.

Britain can be proud of this ship, and what it represents. It sends a clear signal that as Britain forges a new, positive, confident role for ourselves on the world stage in the years ahead, we are determined to remain a fully engaged global power, working closely with our friends and allies around the world.

As a leading member of NATO, the foremost military power in Europe and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Britain has an enduring responsibility to help sustain the international rules-based order, and to defend the liberal values which underpin it.

To ensure we can do so effectively, we will increase defence spending every year and continue to meet NATO’s target to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Our carrier programme is an example of what that spending can deliver. As highly versatile and potent assets, they will be able to meet the widest range of challenges around the world. Whether the task be high intensity war fighting, targeted action to fight terrorism or humanitarian relief to save lives overseas, these ships will transform the UK’s ability to project power around the world.

Alongside her supporting task-group, including state-of-the-art aircraft, helicopters and escorts, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales will in time give the UK a truly world class carrier strike capability for decades to come. Here in Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy and the new home of this great ship, we are surrounded by reminders of the Royal Navy’s proud past. It was from this harbour that Nelson embarked aboard HMS Victory before the battle of Trafalgar; from here the allied forces left for the Normandy beaches to defeat fascism on D-day; and from here that the task-force set sail for the South Atlantic to liberate the Falklands.

Many times in our history we have called upon the Royal Navy to defend our island and protect our interests and those of our citizens around the world. The threats we face may have changed, and naval technology advanced beyond all recognition. But in the fifty years of service to come from this vessel, we can be inspired by those traditions to face the new challenges of the twenty-first century with the same determination and resolve which have always been the Royal Navy’s hallmarks.

I hope that you can all enjoy some respite before you take the ship out of harbour again for the next phase of her sea trials, and let me once again thank you all for your service to our country.”

Additionally, one of our reporters was able to film the carrier entering Portsmouth, this can be found on our Facebook page.

21 COMMENTS

      • She’s finished mate, only 26% or so of Tory members want her to stay on, as soon as the time is right she will be replaced.

        • KierenC – Well as a Leftie you probably hope so. Despite the worst election campaign I have witnessed (I am 70) she still won by a landslide – 22% more seats than Labour who got 4 more than Brown did in 2010. And he had the decency to resign. Knock Tess all you want she is still way better than anything Labour has to offer.

          She may indeed be ‘finished’. She may well resign. But not before she delivers Brexit. She has without question handled some very difficult terrorist and catastrophic situations before and then while trying to run an election campaign with grace and expresses the public will very well. Her speeches are without doubt excellent as this proves.

          Unlike Corbyn grubbing around in the ashes of Grenfell Tower with a media scrum in tow looking for photo opportunities and shouting protest soundbites….

          • Chris chill out, you get worked up every time I speak on here, we have different political views get over it mate.

            13.6m 12.8m
            42.3% 40%
            -13 +30

            You must be the only person in the country calling that election a Theresa May landslide.

            You’re angry because you know full well if there was an election called tomorrow there would only be one winner 😉

            Jez we can!! Haha

  1. David Cameron gave a good speech on Ark Royal I seem to remember but his actions spoke far louder than his words just a short time after. I would wait and see.

  2. I think it should have been one of the royals doing that today, these politicians are just robots, and I include all parties in that. These sailors are ment to be inspired by these speeches, everyone of those sailors would have seen what just happened in the election she’s a s***house.

    A heartfelt speech by someone like Prince William or Harry, guys that have served, would of been much better.

    • Nick – Back of the net mate . To them anyone but a Tory will do. Forgetting she, as PM, is the one responsible for all their lives and the nation’s security AND delivering all this equipment. Not having such a huge responsibility is a luxury Corbyn can thankfully enjoy for another 5 years.

  3. Dear Mrs May,

    When will the so called National Shipbuilding Strategy policy be discussed, decided upon and invested in to sustain British ship building over the long term! This should be an all party decision to enable continuity/stability.
    Perhaps one could look to the continent for stable Defence Programmes were either Conservative or Socialist parties continue the plan without this chopping and changing!
    All Conservative policies are not bad just as all socialist policies are not bad! Is it not time to take the responsibility and work together for the countries good?

    I would appreciate sensible feedback/constructive discussion.
    Nick Germany

    • Nick, what a great comment.

      I have been saying for a while that defence spending and a shipbuilding strategy should be cross party. I even said it should be a committee of experts, past and present serviceman, battlefield experts, geopolitical experts making joint decisions in where and how the money gets spent.

  4. Dear all,
    I would like to hope and think that politicians across all parties take up this challenge to ensure a sensible compromise is reached to build up our forces which let’s face it have been short changed over many years.
    All the forces have schrunk to an unacceptable level!

    I don’t want to mention the Chamberlin era but we are already dangerously undercut!

    I expect open and honest discussion! The reality is we are not living in a safe world! The Cold War has finished but my goodness Mrs May look east and wake up before it’s to late!
    The constant remark of 2% GDP NATO spending and £178 Billion is becoming tiresome!

    I expect Mr Churchill would not be impressed!

    Any Politician/High ranking serviceman sacrifice your pensions go public tell the truth as it is! For the sake of our good country!
    Honesty sometimes hurts but at the end of the day it’s the only thing to do!
    Nick

  5. HMG continues to talk the talk whilst not stumping up the funds for the equipment & manpower needed to defend us. QE CV is a great asset but without sufficient self-defense armament, strike fighter squadrons & escorts(without leaving many other commitments unfulfilled), it rings very hollow. Our 2% GDP is only achieved by creative book keeping. I despair at how successive governments have run down our forces whilst talking a lot of empty hot air.
    We are in severe danger of entering a future conflict with virtually impotent & dangerously under-equipped forces.

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