DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – AIRCRAFT CARRIERS – 8 May 2008

Dr Julian Lewis: I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman's (Lindsay Hoyle's) excellent speech, but a recent written answer gave some interesting information from the Minister for the Armed Forces. I had asked how long it would take to construct each of the carriers and was told five and a half years. If the first is to come into service in 2014 – and given that one must allow a year for sea trials and then another year for acceptance and working up in the Royal Navy – it is getting perilously near the deadline; in fact, we might even expect the announcement today or next week if the deadline is to be met.