Royal Navy warships will set sail for the Mediterranean today amid continued diplomatic tensions with the Spain over the British territory Gibraltar.
The frigate HMS Westminster will dock in Gibraltar as part of the exercise, while other ships in the task group expected to visit Spanish ports.
The vessels, which include helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious, will be taking part in what defence officials stressed was a long-scheduled deployment codenamed Cougar '13 in the Mediterranean and the Gulf.
More top news
The launch was made in defiance of United Nations sanctions barring North Korea from using ballistic missile technology.
David Cameron has raised concerns after figures showed 100 babies spent time living behind bars last year.
About 124,000 patients had to wait for at least 12 hours in accident and emergency departments last year, according to an investigation.