LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 11, 2019) (UK POOL) – Britain should be ready to use “hard power” to support its global interests after Brexit, defence minister Gavin Williamson said on Monday (February 11), adding the UK cannot only be satisfied with protecting its “own backyard”.
Giving a keynote speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Williamson said the UK we must be prepared to compete for its interests and values “far, far from home”.
He said the UK will build new alliances, rekindle old ones, and make it clear the country will act when required.
He also announced that the first mission of the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier will include work in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Pacific regions, and the vessel would carry two squadrons of British and U.S. F-35 jets.
Britain is in the midst of its most severe political crisis since World War Two as Prime Minister Theresa May scrambles to find a last-minute agreement on leaving the European Union with only weeks until it is due to end over four decades of political and economic integration in Europe.
Brexit has been seen as a blow to the West, already struggling to assimilate Russian and Chinese power as well as Donald Trump’s unpredictable U.S. presidency. Brexit supporters hail it as a chance for Britain to take on a new global role.