The Prime Minister has appointed Penny Mordaunt as the next Secretary of State for Defence, the first female to hold the appointment. 

She replaces Gavin Williamson who was sacked after it was alleged that he leaked confidential information regarding Huawei.

Mordaunt has a family history in the armed forces as her father was in the parachute regiment, which she mentioned during her maiden speech to parliament.

Mordaunt is also a Royal Naval Reservist, serving as an acting sub-lieutenant, at HMS King Alfred on Whale Island.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, a member of the British Astronomical Association, and she is involved in many charities active in the Portsmouth area, including Southsea Greenhouse, Hilsea Lido, The Patey Centre, and Wymering Manor.

Mordaunt is a patron of the Victoria Cross Trust, as well as an ambassador for Portsmouth Scouts.

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Harry Bulpit
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Harry Bulpit

A royal navy reservest, and the doughter of a para. Sounds promising.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Exactly.

keithdwat
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keithdwat

why was this down voted?? Who would down vote this comment?

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

The person who regularly down votes mine and others. And not opinion pieces where one may honestly disagree but simple comments like that. I think I was down voted for saying thank you recently!
Ignore it means nothing and if they get off on it let them…

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Someone who fancied the job? 🙂

J.ward
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J.ward

i think she’ll be a good defense secretary with that heritage, how did yoou think Williamson did?

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Williamson was decisive and audacious on Wedgetail and P8. Thay said I’m not sure there was a serious alternative in either case. They were probably both ripe apples ready to fall. He created the impression of a lot of furious activity with injections of small sums into niche initiatives and was good at putting himself about. He fought well for the landing ships but did have core of party behind him. His bravado was his undoing. I would say he was a quickfire reactive person rather than thoughful leader. Mordaunt is an excellent choice. We need a calm person at… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

Just read that she was named after a frigate; the Leander, HMS Penelope. Superb!

Lee1
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Lee1

Indeed, Finally someone who is actually at least partially qualified for the job! I do wish we put more people in cabinet that were experts rather than MPs.

Spacey Rupert (Rtd)
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Spacey Rupert (Rtd)

That’s why we have the upper house. In the Lord’s you will find experts on everything and they are not afraid to express their advisory opinions freely.

Lee1
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Lee1

They do not have direct management of the departments. Cabinet does not have to be made up of MPs so we could have actual qualified people in there if we wanted.

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

Watch-ya-cock!

Looking towards tomorrow’s locals this could be the shortest appointment ever….

Bob
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Bob

Great news for the Navy – a senior service who wears the dolphins. MP for Portsmouth too. And has some good ideas on using the aid budget to assist defence – hospital ships being a good example.

Gav’ did a good job. I’ll miss him and his spider! But, in Penny, I think we might have a good replacement.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Mordaunt has run overseas development so is in a good position to argue for hospital ships funded from that budget. And in fact could put a case for overseas development funding for foreign aid which involves our training of friendly armed services.

bazjak
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bazjak

Watch out Devonport
I think your time is up

andy
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andy

she won,t do much she,s to much of a yes person,the only winner here will be the idiot Hammond who will be rubbing his hands thinking of how much money he can pull from defence instead of putting money in defence so bang goes the next batches of type 26,s

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Why is she a yes person? What has she done to suggest that previously?

andy
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andy

because May would not have give her the job in the first place,seeing as May has dug such a massive hole she cannot afford to have anyone that goes against her

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Much of the Tory party, Cabinet, all opposition, and many in the country, including Tory voters, pro or anti Brexit, are against or sick to the back teeth with her…and she’s still PM!

She’s stubborn.

Would it make any difference!?

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

I have been disappointed in her too. I think my, ‘Oh she is just the same as the rest…’ moment was the ‘cock’ speech. She is more Louise Mensch than Esther McVey if you get my drift.

JohnG
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Agree with you Andy. This whole scenario stinks.

HF
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HF

She’s better looking than GW…… but does she know the offside rule ?

Andy P
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Andy P

The nation needs to know…. 😉

HF
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HF

Absolutely !

Cymbeline
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Cymbeline

Looking forward to see how she does, don’t see how she will be any worse than Gav who to be fair while he’s always talked the forces up, he’s always talked in the strangest manner.

Gavin Gordon
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Gavin Gordon

For a DSec to talk the armed forces up was in itself a good start!

Julian
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Julian

Let’s give her a chance. She has the personal and family connections that should put her on the armed forces side and new incumbents often try to do some sort of an “I mean business” initiative early on. I’d suggest canning T31e, doing some hardball negotiation with BAE to see the economies of scale from all the RAN and RCN extra T26 builds getting the unit price of the RN builds down, and using all that to get us back to a firm commitment to 13 T26 would be a good early initiative to convince me that she means business.… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Have to agree. I’m not impressed by any of the competing designs for T31.
Accept T26 is expensive but would it not have been a better option to build a GP sub class 5 diesel engined T26, no GT, ffbnw Mk41, just CAMM, no TS and 57mm or 76mm rather than pricey 5in. Maybe these could be refitted at some future date as AAW ships.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Absolutely! She’s getting shot down here by some already. Hope she can sweet talk Phil rather than antagonising him as Gavin reportedly did.

Callum
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Callum

Scrapping T31 at this point is suicide. The RN needs new frigates in less than 4 years, it’s too late to accelerate the first batch of T26s to meet the deadline. Like it or not, T31 needs to happen now. Its up to her to make sure the right design is chosen.

Regarding the T26 programme though, there is plenty of potential to speed up Batch 2 production so that we get the last 5 ships significantly earlier. There’s still plenty of time to reverse the decision to artificially slow the B2 build and place component orders ahead of time.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Well, with some reluctance I agree. As the saying goes we are where we are.
I always believed that much of what was paid for the River 2s went towards speculative design work to morph the generic Amazonas/River 2/ Khareef hull into Leander – BAE believing the order was theirs by right. I would be happy with Leander if the number of Sea Ceptor cells was increased to 24 and hangar was sized for an NH90, really a must for exports.

Chris H
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Chris H

An excellent choice and not just because of the circumstances. I recall when there was discussion here about who should get the job, people were flagging up Ms Mordaunt because of her military background. At the time I was in a minority as I argued we needed someone who could work their way round the political minefields and leave the military bit to the Chiefs. Williamson was exactly the right choice and he did a good job making some excellent decisions (apart from FSS). Sadly he found a political mine when he (allegedly) blabbed and broke the Official Secrets Act.… Read more »

Simon m
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Simon m

I think that the sacking of Williamson is disappointing to say the least and I think he is the first defence secretary for something to stand up for the department and actively defy cuts and push projects on the needs of the department and country and this hasn’t helped in his demise. If someone says they haven’t done what they are accused of and is prepared to face an enquiry theory should at least get the chance to defend themselves. I hope penny can ensure that defence is pushed up the priority ladder. Unfortunately nothing really matters under the worst… Read more »

Bill Kenny
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Bill Kenny

At this stage no one can confidently predict how effective the new Defence Minister will be. We can however acknowledge that she will still have to battle against the malign intentions of Messrs Sedwell and Hammond. We can only wish her luck and perhaps remind her of the old truism that your political enemies are behind you.

Levi Goldsteinberg
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Levi Goldsteinberg

Could’ve easily been some awful boot licking career politician like Michael Fallon with yet more total apathy towards the MoD.

In spite of the PMs incompetence, she has appointed a fiery true conservative with military experience. About as good as it gets in Westminster

geoff
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geoff

Am I alone in wondering what was the exact nature of the crime committed by Gavin Williamson? I think that his replacement looks promising but this whole issue is a minor side show in the unprecedented disaster that is the state of British politics at present. I have never been a particular fan of Theresa May but was prepared to give her credit for at least having a plan for Brexit, albeit seriously flawed, whilst none of those sniping from the sidelines have yet presented any credible alternative that would garner broad acceptance. We are now faced with a situation… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Tend to agree Gavin is a distraction. I’m no telecoms engineer but I suspect allowing Huawei to provide the outer parts of the 5G network is low risk. The US attitude has as much to do with Trump isolationist politics as it does to real security risks. As regards Brexit as time progresses it’s underlying divisive nature is becoming ever more obvious. As the saying goes, divide and conquer. To her credit May has seen from the outset the risk Brexit poses to the United Kingdom. It has emboldened both the IRA and the Scots Nats and is weakening our… Read more »

geoff
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geoff

Thanks for your comment Paul. I a no conspiracy theorist but one wonders to what extent the Russians are stoking the fires in these issues worldwide. My feeling I that staying in the EU is probably the lesser of two ‘evils’. Stay and then work vigorously from within to make the necessary changes.

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

The Russians don’t need to stoke issues. Commentators on sites like this one do it all for them. What do you our security services spend their time doing?

The naivety and childish outlook on sites like this one is utterly breathtaking. Is Russia an ally? No. Are they any worse than other state their size? No.

geoff
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geoff

Steve-I am not saying Russia is totally to blame for this-far from it BUT they have shown themselves to be in recent years, bold and innovative in interfering in the affairs of nations they see as rivals/adversaries. If one reads the comments on the Brexit issue in the Telegraph for example, some of the opinions expressed are so extreme that one wonders if it is in some cases designed by Agents provocateur to stoke the fires and inflame what then becomes a self spiralling conflagration. As to whether they are any worse than other states-I would say they are the… Read more »

Lee1
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Lee1

I think Russia are indeed far worse than other states their size. Being able to control the media in their own country gives them a big advantage in the world of propaganda. The freedoms we have are easily used against us when there can be no reciprocating fight back.

Paul.P
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Paul.P

There is no need for conspiracy theories Geoff. Old fashioned selfish interest is sufficient explanation. I’ve no doubt those who run Russia are very happy to gleefully exploit our internal divisions on Brexit in order to get richer and to consolidate their position as oligarchs and the global influence of Russia; who I read are jointly developing helicopters with Turkey. Westland RIP. It is us who are the turkeys. Membership of the EU threatens the influence and power of both the extreme right and the extreme left in UK politics; warring tribes who have carved up governing Britain and really… Read more »

geoff
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geoff

Good post Paul. I fear the Centre no longer holds

DaveyB
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DaveyB

There is no part of a mobile phone network that could not be used for intelligence gathering. It has been said that Huawei would only be given the outer parts of the network. This suggest it would be the repeater stations. The mobile phone network on a very basic level will take your transmitted frequency from your handset and then re-transmit it at a different frequency to the next tower etc. To do this it takes the transmitted signal records it, amplifiers it and then re-transmits it. Therefore, if you’re that way inclined you could record the signal as it… Read more »

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Thx. Telecoms 101 education. I guess in a world where my ip address tells advertisers which TV programs I am watching I am relaxed about this.
So next time a Secretary for Defence phones a reporter from the Daily Telegraph we can ask Huwawei for the call log?
Two extra questions: Don’t important people have their call content encrypted? And wouldn’t we have a backup network, not rely 100% on one supplier?

John Fedup
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John Fedup

There are numerous intel types not only from the US but also from Australia, NZ, Canada, and elsewhere that have expressed serious concerns about any Huawei involvement whatsoever in Western 5G networks.

geoff
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geoff

ps Are we allowed to say that Penny Mordaunt is pretty or can we still get locked up for that sort of thing 🙂

Paul.P
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Paul.P

Perish the thought, locked up for admiring the Lord’s work? 😉

Herodotus
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Heavens, she is the daughter of a peer of the realm? Err…she is quite ordinary in terms of looks…but, as they say in the Navy…’ I wouldn’t climb over her to get to you’!!!!

Paul.P
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Paul.P

That’s a relief!