The UK Defence Secretary, MP Grant Shapps, Visits BAE Systems, Warton

Fylde MP Mark Menzies was on site to welcome the Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, to BAE Systems, Warton on Thursday 11th January (featured photograph). Later that day the UK joined the US in launching airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen overnight whilst PM Rishi Sunak pledged a further £2.9 billion military aid to Ukraine.

As MP Shapps toured the facility, the Government said the UK defence industry north-west of England benefits from £2.5 billion each year, supporting 16,000 jobs – which includes making crucial weaponry for Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s illegal invasion. The Government added that since the start of Russia’s illegal invasion, the UK has stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, donating weaponry, ammunition and supporting training efforts for their armed forces.

Whilst Defence Secretary, MP Grant Shapps, was in Warton (photograph below) he took the opportunity to praise those working at the facilities for their support in keeping the UK safe and backing Ukraine.

He said: ‘People remain at the heart of UK defence and today I had the privilege to meet staff who play such a crucial role in ensuring our nation’s security and supporting Ukraine’s fight for freedom.  We will continue to invest in defence and skills across the north-west, supporting jobs and communities across the region.’

Fylde MP Mark Menzies added, ‘Recently, the Government announced a new treaty with Japan and Italy as part of the Global Air Combat Programme (GCAP) to build the next generation of supersonic stealth fighter jets. With BAE as the main contractor in the UK, this ensures that jobs are secured across Warton and Samlesbury.’

Later in the day (Thursday 11th January) Grant Shapps told Iran to urge its proxies in the Middle East to ‘cease and desist’ as the world is ‘running out of patience’. The UK Defence Secretary singled out Yemen’s Houthis and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, both key allies of Tehran and supporters of Hamas. He noted that Houthi attacks in the Red Sea increased 500% between November and December last year. The UK joined the US in launching well documented airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen overnight on Thursday.

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