DEFENCE – HMS ARK ROYAL – 16 May 2011
Dr Julian Lewis: Have Ministers had a chance to consider the imaginative scheme to retain HMS Ark Royal for the nation as a heliport facility in conjunction with the Homes for Heroes project, bearing in mind that this year is the centenary of the first naval aviators being taught to fly and bearing in mind the importance of keeping aircraft carriers in the forefront of our minds until they resume their rightful place in this country's armoury?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Dr Liam Fox): I doubt whether my hon. Friend, or many other Members, would believe some of the suggestions that we have had for the future use of Ark Royal. Its use as a helipad is one of them, and although I find it particularly attractive in some ways, I am not sure whether the residents where it might be placed would think exactly the same. Its use is subject to a range of issues, not least planning considerations but also a range of financial ones. As ever, however, he makes a welcome and creative contribution to the debate.]