Michael Fallon: UK 'equipped' to deal with terror threats abroad

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Britain is well prepared to tackle future terrorist threats abroad such as so-called Islamic State, according to Michael Fallon.

The Defence Secretary said the UK's newest state-of-the-art warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, meant that Britain could now combat terrorist threats from all corners of the globe.

Speaking aboard the 65,000-tonne vessel, which will be able to carry fighter jets, Mr Fallon also praised Britain's efforts in helping to drive out IS fighters from Mosul.

He said Britain's army, air force and navy had all made vital contributions in helping Iraqi forces battle to retake the besieged city.

Mosul has been under occupation of the militant group since 2014, but a protracted battle to regain control of the stronghold appears to have reached its climax - with only remnants of IS forces remaining.

Mr Fallon said that "thanks to" Britain's forces IS were finally being driven out after their three-year stay.

Praising the UK's support of the Iraqi military, Mr Fallon said: "We have trained the Iraqi forces. Over 50,000 Iraqi troops have been trained by the British Army.

"The RAF have flown day and night strike operations in support of ground forces and our Royal Navy has helped guard the American carrier in the Gulf from which other strikes have been flown."

Speaking of the importance of Iraqi forces leading the fight against IS, he said: "These battles against terrorism have to be won against local forces.

"But we can help. We can help with air power, we can help with training, we can help with intelligence.

"The Iraqi government has asked us for help and, three years later, we have the prospect now of driving Daesh terrorism out of Iraq, thanks to the RAF, thanks to the British Army and thanks also to the Royal Navy."

The drawn-out battle for Mosul appears to be nearing its conclusion. Credit: AP

Mr Fallon said that the launch of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest and most powerful ever commanded by the British Navy, meant Britain would again be "leading the way" in future battles against terrorism.

"All the successful strikes in support of Iraqi forces have been carried out by fast jets, he said.

"We will have fast jets on this carrier in the Gulf on the seven seas of the world, able to strike the terrorist threat against our country."

The Defence Secretary added: "You do need to be able to take on any adversary. We can't predict 30, 40, 50 years ahead what we may have to deal with.

"This aircraft carrier gives us the capability to keep our country safe for years to come."