Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Statement on Inappropriate Behaviour in the Armed Forces

Below is the text of the statement made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for Defence, in the House of Commons on 15 July 2019.

In April of this year a report was commissioned to look into inappropriate behaviour in the armed forces. Our armed forces are the pride of our nation, and have a hard-won reputation here, and across the world.

The report which was undertaken by Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, concluded that while the vast majority of military personnel serve with great honour and distinction, some unacceptable behaviour does occur. I am publishing the report today.

I am accepting the recommendations of the report in full, including creating a defence authority to provide centralised oversight of their implementation. Detailed work on the design of this body and its responsibilities is now under way.

We are examining the recommendations and ascertaining how we can prevent inappropriate behaviour in the first place, and where it does occur, deal with the perpetrators more effectively. Leadership is key to this approach at all levels of the services from the most senior to the most junior. Everyone has a role to play in setting and maintaining standards. Non-Commissioned Officers in particular are key in holding people to these standards and the values of their service. I am therefore, in addition to the findings of this report, looking to ensure all Non-Commissioned Officers have what they need to address poor behaviour when they see it.

This will clearly take time, and I see today as the start of this work, not the end.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Statement on the Office for Tackling Injustices

Below is the text of the statement made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for Defence, in the House of Commons on 15 July 2019.

On Friday 12 July, the Prime Minister announced the creation of the Office for Tackling Injustices. This is a new organisation that will hold the Government and wider society to account for tackling key social injustices.

Despite the great progress we have made in promoting fair treatment for all in the UK, we know that too many of our citizens are still held back by the injustice of ​unequal treatment on the grounds of their socio-economic background, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

The Prime Minister has spoken of her determination to tackle these “burning injustices”. But all Governments should work to end the injustices that continue to characterise our country for too many. The Office for Tackling Injustices (OfTI) will focus minds on how to create a fairer country in the decades to come.

By shining a light on data on injustices and monitoring change, the OfTI will provide evidence-based challenge to future Governments and wider society to tackle disparities in social and economic outcomes. Data is a hard, sometimes uncomfortable fact, but publishing it and communicating it clearly forces Government and others to hold a mirror up to their own performance and challenge themselves to do better.

The OfTI will have a remit covering social injustices relating to ethnicity, gender, disability, socioeconomic background and LGBT. As well as annually delivering a data-driven report on progress to Parliament, the OfTI will also publish thematic studies into issues relevant to its mandate. It will make use of relevant published data from various public authorities, monitoring trends and considering the underlying causes and drivers for them.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Speech at the Air and Space Power Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for Defence, at the Air and Space Power Conference on 18 July 2019.

Firstly, I want to pay tribute to the Chief of the Air Staff and say thank you. When I first met Stephen I was MinAF and he helped shape the ambition that was in the 2015 SDSR.

He secured that equipment programme but he has always known that it was secondary to investing, developing and looking after our people.

Sir Stephen, the diversity of the force, the longevity of service, the excellence of the operation are testament to that. You understand the importance of this because you’ve seen just about every side of life there is to the RAF. Your father was in the RAF. You gained your pilot’s licence in the Air Cadets – how important that organisation has proved to be in the lives of so many! He went on to a most distinguished career winning the DFC and being knighted in the process, perhaps all of this made more special by his service at so many lower levels.

Stephen, I share your priorities, which is why decent pay, an end to lawfare and a focus on forces families have formed much of my two months at the MOD as Secretary of State.

We need the best people, we need diversity of thought and great leadership, to recognise, attract and retain talent, for personnel to be at their best.

Training is incredibly important. But the RAF – like all the services – is about something much more – inspirational leadership. This is needed because the demands we make of our people are so great. We challenge them on all four axes – physically, spiritually, intellectually and yes, emotionally.

You don’t need me to tell you that we live in changed times. It’s not enough that we have technical change, creating capabilities at lightning speed. It’s not enough that we have massive political change. This is as true domestically, as it is geopolitically. It’s not enough that we have massive economic change – with global flows of capital promoting multilateral mergers and acquisitions of our civilian support organisations. It’s no wonder that national governments with their bureaucratised, traditional structures are struggling to cope.

I can’t stop any of these changes and nor can any of us. What I can say though is that national, governmental and commercial advantage all comes down to one thing – how fast and how adaptable our response is and how we are able to use the great strengths we have as a nation to project power and use our influence to best advantage.

The challenge of this age is that the threats are complex, multilateral, asymmetric and constantly changing. Even the last SDSR underestimated the speed at which the threats we face today would develop. And that means the task facing our military is growing enormously.

But the biggest threat to us is not the Russians or Daesh, but potentially, our own political thinking. Throughout history we’ve seen this. We know about the stagnation of the Western Front in World War One. The folly of fixed defences in World War Two. We’ve also seen the change from air-launched, strategic deterrents, to submarine-based ones. And the importance of combined service operations in recovering the Falklands.

For each generation, the lesson must be learnt. Our forces implement our political thinking on the battlefield. If that thinking is outdated, then their weapons will be, too.

When we’re not operating “hot” we lose the emphasis on adaption and innovation. We must ensure in “cooler” times we continue to learn and drive towards becoming even more effective and prepared. This applies as much to politics as it does to economics.

Another threat to our forces is short-term financial thinking. And this is not just in the shortcomings of equipment. Investment in our military is a long-term investment in social mobility, in education, in industry, policing, medicine and international diplomacy. The MOD doesn’t have a KPI of Total Shareholder Returns because it’s balance sheets runs over decades. And Space is a perfect example of this. It underpins everything from the development of the computer chip to the internet.

We owe our military so much – and not just because of the past. It’s also one of the most exciting places to be for the future. It’s also an investment in the pride our country feels today. To understand this, we need to be situationally fluent. We have to recognise that nationalist politics are returning us to the nation state at the same time as commercial economics are moving us in the opposite direction.

Capital is becoming ever more international, while politics is becoming ever more local. I make no value judgment of this. I’m signpost, not a weathervane. It’s the supranational regional bodies receding, we’re returning back to the age of national resilience, but international cooperation remains vital. And if we’re to adapt to this new age we need to enhance our strategic thinking.

We need to remember that while Defence keeps the peace, it, and all the components of our National security, also strengthens our global ties and helps our prosperity. So we must ensure that we assist the decision makers responsible for our national security.

So much of the work of the intelligence services is reliant on the contributions that defence makes. In the future, I want our offer to be more comprehensive in this respect which is why I’ve recently introduced a new situational awareness briefing at the MODs weekly drumbeat, briefing Defence ministers…on what’s going on in the wider world.

We need to be aware, not just of aggressive acts, or changes in territory or defence procurement. But in financial flows, mergers and acquisitions, markets, prices, health, human security and the resulting impact on our interests.

Why? Because We’ve moved beyond hot wars or cold wars to a new age of ‘sombre’ wars conducted in the shadows, on the dark web, in the business world, space and often remote from what we’ve known of the battlefield. This remains invisible to our patrons most of the time. But it is we who operate in this zone on a daily basis who must ironically have the greatest vision for the future. We have also the greatest readiness.

And part of that readiness requires our partnerships to be deeper and more long-term. So, we must take a new industrial approach to build tomorrow’s military success Earlier in my tenure, I outlined how we need to take our industrial partnership forward, to build on the learnings of carrier alliance, and on our operations. In my sea power speech I touched on Building British, buying British to get better at selling British…

In my land power speech – I spoke of fusion of conventional capabilities with cyber…But more is needed if we are to be as nimble as we need to be in the future…Our new industrial strategy must recognise that nations who protect their commercial systems make them the ‘go-to’ places for business. Is it any wonder that there is a wholesale exodus of business from jurisdictions where Intellectual Property is routinely stolen?

We are rightly concerned about protecting our goods in the Straits of Hormuz. But in the future data flows will exceed those of physical goods. How are we going to make sure we will protect those goods and that information? My vision is not just for a country which is at peace and where our people walk free from fear, but for a place where all rights of our citizens can be protected…intellectual property to online identity. Our democracy needs this. And if we are to compete around the world, then global Britain demands this.

We must change Whitehall, our processes to protect the UK as an area in which to conduct business safely and free from interference. And we must join this up with HMGs wider objectives. We need to have orchestrated centres of excellence eg Where is drone HQ for this government? If we can’t say where, how do we know we’re making the most of the RnD funding, what we are investing – in each service, in each department, company or university? For each sector, I want us to have a clear understanding of how it fits with the UK’s prosperity agenda.

So, I am looking at setting up a New entity in the Department to look at the spin offs from Research and Development in Defence

And we should be a leading player in space. It won’t just help strengthen our industries. It’ll also provide an incredible opportunity to capture the imagination of a new generation and encourage them to get involved in aerospace.

Fifty years on from the moon landings we’re seeing SpaceX and other private sector individuals and leaders coming into the sector and making use of the technology. From satellite launches to more ambitious projects. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when, the first humans will walk on Mars. And this year we might see the first routine tourist flights into space.

Richard Branson is striving to lead that incredible development. Virgin Orbit has already pilots with astronaut wings. It’s currently undertaking pioneering research into launching small satellites into space from the wing of a Boeing 747.

And just last week, Virgin Orbit completed a landmark ‘drop test’ of a rocket at 35,000 feet to test the separation of rocket and aircraft during launch. Science fiction is becoming science fact. One day I want to see RAF pilots earning their space wings and flying beyond the stratosphere.

So today, I can announce we’re making a giant leap in that direction by working towards placing a Test Pilot into the Virgin Orbit programme. Sending a bold signal of Global Britain’s aspiration…and showing that if you join our RAF…you will join a service where you can become an aviator or an astronaut…where you will help push back the frontiers of space and create a launch pad to the stars.

As discussed earlier, the successful military powers of the future are going to be the ones that most easily and quickly assimilate change to their advantage.

Seven years ago, following Lord Levene’s review, we established Joint Forces Command. We understood that Defence needed a joint organisation to do the things the services individually could not. We realised too, we needed to strengthen the link between experience in operational theatres and top-level, decision-making.

Since then, JFC has done an incredible job bringing together joint capabilities like medical services, training, intelligence, information systems and cyber operations. It’s work has stood the test of time. But our future Joint Organisation must step up to some new challenges…taking on greater responsibility as we adjust to the demands of the future contested environment.

Today we’re seeing state and non-state actors alike operating in that ‘sombre’ zone below the threshold of war…unconstrained by previously accepted norms…using all tools in their armoury…and weaponising information… to catch us off guard to destabilise our societies and our support systems. If we’re to respond, we must have strategic integration across the five war fighting domains – land, air, sea, space and cyber.

That’s why today I can announce that we’re transforming JFC into Strategic Command. Much more than just a name change…this will be a bespoke organisation…supporting Head Office…helping Defence think strategically…assisting our transformation programme…and taking responsibility for a range of strategic and defence-wide capabilities. Combined with its oversight of our global footprint, it will continue enabling our operations and providing critical advice on force development.

I’ve spoken about the contested environment. And the threats that are intensifying across all domains. And in space, too.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon some fifty years ago, operations in space seemed otherworldly. Yet today our Armed Forces depend upon space to provide them global communications, critical intelligence, surveillance and navigation tools, while satellites underpin our national banking, transport and communication networks. And our competitors are doing all they can to disrupt access to these services.

China has tested hit-to-kill interceptor missiles increasing deadly debris and threatening every sovereign space enterprise. Russia is conducting sophisticated on-orbit activities…developing missile interceptors to threaten satellites and electronic warfare systems to jam satellite signals. And non-state actors and cyber hackers have the potential to scramble satellite data and manipulate earth observation data to gain advantage.

The UK must be ready to face these dangers. And Defence must play its part. We can, and we will. But we know we cannot compete in this contested and dangerous world alone.

This government has consistently said we must work more with our international partners. This will bring our unique skills in the UK and experience into closer alliances to multiply the effects we can have.

That’s also why today I can announce we have become the first international partner in the US-led Operation Olympic Defender. This will be an international coalition formed to strengthen deterrence against hostile actors in space and prevent the spread of space debris in orbit. In the next 18 months, the UK will be sending eight people to the Combined Space Operations Center in California to support this operation.

But space is not just fraught with incredible dangers, it’s also a domain of incredible opportunity that we must seize with both hands. So today I’m also announcing we’re investing £30m to launch a small satellite constellation within a year. These small, low orbiting satellites can be sent into space more cost-effectively than their predecessors and can be fixed or replaced more quickly. The programme will eventually see live high resolution video beamed directly into the cockpit of our aircraft providing pilots with unprecedented levels of battle awareness.

To support this state-of-the-art system, the RAF has founded Team ARTEMIS, a transatlantic team of UK and US defence personnel to launch the constellation and undertake research into the wider military uses of small satellites. Given the vastness of the challenge, this might seem a relatively small-scale initiative. But effectively we’re planting the acorns from which the future oaks will grow. Critically, British industry is already a world-leader in these innovative technologies.

Last year we invested £4.5 million in the Carbonite 2 spacecraft which has already sent detailed imagery and footage back to Earth from orbit. One UK company alone based in Surrey is making 40% of the world’s small satellites. So this is a bold statement by the MOD. Showing our determination to invest in our Global Britain, taking military capability further and faster and demonstrating our ambitions are not limited to the skies.

So, the modern security environment is contested, congested, competitive and entangled. But the UK is changing. And defence is changing too. And, alongside our investment in space, we’re investing in air in a big way. Bringing more F-35s online and into the fight.

But just as we’re not naïve about today’s threats, nor are we complacent about what’s to come. That’s why we are ahead of the pack in developing a new capability…the Tempest…that will take to the skies within the next two decades.

Our Typhoons and F-35s will deter our enemies today. The Tempest will make them doubt their future. But, every part of the Defence machine, needs to keep pace with the modern world if we’re to keep deterring tomorrow’s dangers.

Upgrading our Typhoons and arming them with Storm Shadow cruise missiles, Meteor air-to-air missiles and the Brimstone precision strike weapon is also part of this.

I won’t go exhaustively through the complete inventory…it would take too long to list…but it’s worth touching on just some of the capabilities coming on stream.

Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft…able to patrol thousands of miles of the North Atlantic without rest while bringing hundreds of jobs to that region.

Our five E-7s…replacing our current E-3D Sentry…giving us the finest airborne early warning systems around. And within a year, swarming drones able to confuse and overwhelm enemy air defences.

In other words, in the face of growing threats, we will continue to take the bold action that’s necessary. Investing now to stay ahead of the pace of technological acceleration – strengthening our strategic command of the battle space. Reinforcing our commitment to the space arena…and laying the foundations for our future industry…And by joining together with our allies to defend our sovereign interests – whether in the skies or in the upper atmosphere – making sure that…come what may…Britain will be ready to face the future confident of our success.

So we need strategic thinking. We need true situational awareness. We need new strategic partnerships and a new industrial strategy. All fused by a new Strategic Command to deploy new capabilities.

And we should remember that all our military personnel fight with weapon systems, but also the civilian structures, organisations and infrastructure we give them. All of this – all of it – is the product of a previous generation’s political thinking. So it’s not just helpful if the thinking is clear, joined-up and far-sighted. Young lives are depending on it, so the thinking better be more than good. It better be bloody brilliant.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Speech at Land Warfare Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for Defence, at the Land Warfare Conference on 4 June 2019.


In a few days’ time the nation will pay tribute to those who fought on D-Day. From Portsmouth’s Southsea Common to Bayeaux Cathedral…we will stand in silence recalling the incredible operations off the coast, in the air and on the beaches of Normandy.

When we commemorate those events this week what will be in our thoughts? Will it be the landing craft, or the reconnaissance planes, or the supply ships. No. Our focus will be on the veterans, and all who made that immense endeavour possible.

From the civilians who came together at a moment’s notice to build the Mulberry Harbours… wrap up small arms components and sew ID badges…

…to the merchant sailors that swelled our naval force…and enabled the critical transport of men and supplies….

…to the mighty endeavour of that 62,000-strong British element of the 21st Army Group who charged up the beaches

…and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in those dark days.

It was, according to Churchill, “the most difficult and complicated operation that has ever taken place”. It was so called ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is the testimony of those who were there that will captivate us in the coming days. People like Bill Fitzgerald, just eighteen years old, as he along with his comrades stormed those beaches. Then as now it is the people who made the difference. And in defence, if we do not put our people first we will fail to generate and maintain the capability that we need. And we will have broken that covenant between the state and our communities and those who step up to protect them.

As I speak the men and women of our armed forces are working across the globe …combatting terrorism …working with allies and partners to build up the resilience of fragile states… …delivering humanitarian aid to those most in need… …standing up for our values of democracy, tolerance and justice and achieving great things.

I want to put on record my congratulations to Brigadier Celia Harvey who was selected today to be the Deputy Commander Field Army as a Major General. The third Female Army Major General 2* and the first female reserve 2*. My congratulations to her.


We often say what an amazing job they do, because they continually provide us with opportunities to say so. We must take care of them. While they are serving and after they have served.

That is why we will shortly consult on protecting against repeated investigations and litigations against our veterans and AF personnel into historic operations outside the UK. Actions which are not motivated or serve justice, and also consult on paying higher levels of compensation for those injured on combat operations, or to the families for those who have been killed.

Nor should any solider, sailor, airman or women be asked to serve our country and not be sufficiently rewarded. The armed forces are exempt from the living wage, as they are in effect, on call 365 days a year, but I am determined to ensure the lowest paid members of the armed forces are lifted to ensure that none of them are below an acceptable salary to live well on. We are undertaking work to determine what a living wage looks like for those who can be called on day or night.

They should get a living wage.

That is what I will be arguing for in the decisions on this year’s pay review, and it will be a spending priority for me. It is the right thing to do, but I also recognise that the decision to serve is not motivated by money.

People are motivated by what they will be doing and what that achieves in the world and the values that underpin it: protecting, serving, doing your duty for your country.

Central to that is to understand what the Army is for.

That sounds a simple question, but it is one that I am often asked, including by members of the British Army themselves. How can we build connections with our communities, how can we have a strong narrative to recruit if we cannot say what our purpose is.

The reality is, the world is changing and the threats increasing from a diverse range of sources. As earlier speakers have said, Cyber attack is now the new normal. Between 2016 and 2017 NATO saw such attacks on its infrastructure increasing by 60 percent. Whether the origin is Russia, China or North Korea…or from hacktivists, criminals or extremists…the cyber threat can bring down our national infrastructure and undermine our democracy.

All the while, we’re having to deal with the hybrid dangers as nations increasingly employ proxy actors to carry out aggression and intimidation at arms-length but now below the threshold of armed combat.

Whatever the correct response to these new forms of aggression, in many cases their deterrence relies on a credible threat of hard power. And the reality is wars are still won or lost on land. We need to seize and hold territory endures and yes, the future may look very different in years to come, but meantime, while armour is relevant it must be capable, and we must be competitive.

We have not been.

Challenger 2, has been in service without a major upgrade since 1998. During this time the United States, Germany and Denmark have completed two major upgrades, whilst Russia has fielded five new variants with a sixth pending.

Warrior, is even more obsolete, and is twenty years older than those operated by our key allies. Since Warrior’s introduction in 1988 the United States and Germany have conducted four major upgrades and Russia has invested in three new variants.

So we must invest in our warfighting division, and it is critical we honour the commitments we made in the SDSR 2015 to maintain a world-class divisional war fighting capability, through upgrades and new vehicles, equipped to win wars in the information age…with advanced sensors and automated search, tracking and detection systems.

At the same time, I am keen that we shouldn’t overlook the advantages of more joint ways of working. Look at the successes of the Joint Helicopter Force which brings all battlefield helicopters under a single command.

Why can’t we do something similar with robotics and unmanned vehicles across all the services…by building a hub overseen by Joint Force Command? Not only will we be able to work better with industry and have a more integrated approach, but we will also be able to plug into what the rest of government is doing too.

At DFID in my previous job I did a huge amount of work on drones, new designs able to lift heavy payloads, and get medicine and supplies into conflict zones and solve many headaches that humanitarians were facing. We boosted creativity through challenge funds and setting up an innovation hub. I think we should be doing more of this in Defence and supporting growth.

In that way to we can create a common mission with the country that is wider than defence: The security and prosperity of the UK, that is what we are for. That is how we will serve our country. And those who put themselves forward to serve are special people.


There is more that we need to do to avoid people dropping out of the recruitment and training pipeline. Currently, for every eight applicants one soldier enters training. Just last year that figure was 12 applicants for every soldier. So we’ve made some good progress but we must do better.

I am challenging the army to reduce that ratio to six to one. It’s also worth reflecting that, once a candidate passes the assessment centre we still lose up to seven per cent of applicants before they commence training. I want us to re-engage with these individuals that have dropped out. Individuals who felt a call to serve. Why did they leave? Was the army not for them? Have they considered another service? Have they considered a career on the civilian side?

If we are serious about bringing up all our forces to the required strength then we must pursue every register of interest.

And we also need to do more to encourage our people to remain in the forces –when they’re thinking of leaving or have reached the end of their current contracts. We already allow people to transfer between different services…offering quicker recruitment and rapid promotion to those with unique talents. But to say we haven’t really sold this is an understatement. We need to make sure that is not just feasible but positively encouraged.

It makes sense when the British taxpayer has invested so heavily in a person that we make best use of that person in the service of their country.


We have to maximise every efficiency.

But in making our pitch to the treasury we also need to talk about the full value of Defence. And that’s not just about jobs in industry, supply chain and services , or export sales, or inventions, or defence engagement which we often mention. It’s also about social mobility, and the fabric of our society.

The Army is a place of great opportunity. You take people from all walks of life. You give them a sense of purpose, belonging and family. Indeed, you give them a home away from home and imbue them with those precious values of courage, discipline, integrity, respect for others, loyalty and selfless commitment. As Army Gunner and drummer Hussein Sadiq put it: “I ended up finding that the Army’s core values reflected my own.”

But the Army does something even more than that. It fires ambition. The British Army has a long and proud history of discovering exceptional character and talent in people which nobody else could see or be bothered to look for.

Rebecca Smith from Grimsby was at rock bottom and sleeping rough. She took a decision to walk into an Army careers office. She became a vehicle mechanic within the (REME) and rose rapidly through the ranks to corporal as a Challenger 2 expert. Having been recognised for her exceptional leadership talent she was recently commissioned from Sandhurst and is now on her young officers’ training course…returning to the REME as a second lieutenant. Her previous hard times are now a distant memory.

The British Army has taught many to read and write, academic and practical skills, enabling huge numbers of people to have the tools they need to be active citizens.

And just as I want defence to do more on the UK prosperity agenda I want us to do more on social mobility agenda too. At a time of rising knife crime and prevalent gang culture in some parts of the UK, the Army’s ethos can make a real difference to young people. It can offer hope.

Defence has so much to offer, in our armed forces and our cadet units, but also in the fantastic organisations that sit in our communities alongside us. I have been so struck in particular how Military Preparation colleges have enthused those who other education establishments fail to inspire. They have encouraged study and physical fitness, self-confidence and self-worth, a sense of duty and service. And they have given some youngsters options where they had none.

I believe it is time to use the skills and lesson learned at these colleges and elsewhere in the Army to address this national blight of gangs and weapons on our streets.

Today I wish to announce, in support of the Ministerial Taskforce on Serious Violence, that my Department will be holding a summit involving Military Preparation Colleges and those working to divert young people away from gangs and violence. We will bring all that we have to offer to this issue.

Courage is inspirational.

We will never forget what the Army accomplished on D-Day seventy-five years ago. It still inspires us still today. An achievement which founded not on having the most powerful weapons but on having people equipped with extraordinary courage, ingenuity and determination.

Today’s Army shares those qualities and our people are going out of their way across to globe to make a difference…protecting innocents…lifting people out of poverty…and providing hope for others from Estonia to Afghanistan, from Iraq to South Sudan.

Yet, as we look into the future, an age in which the dangers are changing and growing, we will depend on our people more than ever.

So we must look after them, like never before.

That is my priority.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Speech at Sea Power Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for Defence, on 15 May 2019.

Well, good morning.

I am delighted to be here. No, more than delighted to be here. I am honoured be here. Not just to be able to thank RUSI for all it does, but to thank you, and particularly those in uniform for your service.

And of course to deliver the Sir Henry Leach memorial lecture…

For all his considerable achievements, he is perhaps best known for his unwavering resolve. He told Margaret Thatcher not only that the Falklands Islands should be retaken, but that they must be retaken, and not everyone agreed with him, but he had confidence in the quality of his personnel. That under-resourced, as even they were then, professionalism and belief in our cause would carry the day, and he wasn’t wrong.

Maybe if it hadn’t been Henry Leach, we would be a different nation today. Some people think we are. They’re wrong. We still have the right stuff in the Royal Navy and for that matter the British Army and yes, even the Royal Air Force.

For him, and for his Prime Minister, in deciding that course of action, the principles were clear. Their confidence and resolve created a focus and an effort to assemble that famous task force and get the job done.

Those two great leaders – military and political – provided reassurance in those troubled times.

Political turmoil at home, a resurgent left wing, calls on other parts of the Exchequer, a distracted America, sound familiar?

In troubled times, we search for those great personal qualities in others to lead our nation and reconnect with the ambitions the people of this country feel so strongly and so intuitively.

Leach and his prime minister articulated a national mission hard-wired into the souls of their nation and the people.

How were they able to do that? To swell hearts? To focus minds?

To define what it is to be a patriot?

Did they use the power of their personal philosophy to mould our great institutions?

Actually it was the opposite.

They felt the values of the institutions of our nation so strongly, that their personalities were shaped by them.

They became the living embodiment of their nation’s enduring values and they were a beacon of freedom to those under tyranny.

And they inspired courage in others.

They were moved by tolerance, respect, plurality of thought, justice, compassion and above all, a love of freedom. They clearly saw what Thatcher called: “the primacy of the heart” and they accepted no “makeshifts” as Sir Henry would have put it.

All of us can understand this because all of us – especially those in public service – have been shaped by those values. Why else would we wish to serve? And when I look round this room on this Spring morning, I wonder what your stories are?

What has this great nation stamped on your hearts?

Why do you find yourselves here?

Why is it that we serve?

Personally, I can still recall the sight of HMS Hermes leading that task force out of Portsmouth Harbour.

And as a nine-year-old, I didn’t know much about that scene. But witnessing it, and Thatcher’s resolve, and Leach’s confidence, well I knew Britain stood up to bullies.

…and I knew it was important that we did.

It was important enough for some of those ships and my class mates’ fathers not to return.

I’d encountered courage, I’d seen duty, and I’d seen sacrifice for something greater than ourselves.

And 37 years later, when I was asked by Major General Julian Thompson to address the San Carlos dinner, the reunion of that task force, well I saw it again.

And I can tell you the veterans remain to this day as uncompromising in their approach to the enemy as they towards their food and drink…

I’m going to talk to you today, and in the future about, ships, boats, cyber and all sorts of other things.

I want you to know however, from the outset, that I understand the business we’re in is primarily about people, it’s about heart and guts, it’s about imagination and belief, vision and ambition.

And our country, at such a profound cross roads in its story, facing such uncertainty and yes opportunity, needs the values Leach admired like never before.

Freedom, democracy, rule of law and the rules-based order…

Our citizens want the nation to be able to affect and improve the world.

They want us to go out and sort out problems.

And I know from my previous department, their generosity and their care for others around the world.

They hate that feeling of impotence when we can’t protect people.

And they want us to be able to further our national interests.

And this means they want us to remain a nation with the inclination and the ability to act.

They want us to influence, to deter and to intervene. And they want us to be able to do this even when that means us standing alone.

Britons intuitively understand Global Britain and you do too because you’re at its heart. You are the foundation of global Britain.

You’re the ones with the reach, the connections, the platforms, the security and partnerships.

Without you, we cannot protect shipping. Without this, trade deals won’t yield dividends.

Without you to guard peace and security, nations can’t lift themselves out of poverty.

Without you to combat threats…whatever their shape and size… evil will prevail.

Global Britain is a protector, it’s a wealth bringer, it’s a problem solver, a life saver and a peace broker. And nothing symbolises our intent and ambition for global Britain and has captured the hearts of our citizens more than our new carriers.

They are a mighty symbol of our intent.

The most powerful ships Britain has ever built.

Nine acres of sovereign territory that will give us the ability to project power from anywhere in the world.

Whether as part of a discrete operation, in support of land operations or as part of a coalition of allies and partners. They are versatile and they are a global influence.

In 2010, when I made the case for the carriers, I just pointed to every humanitarian crisis and brewing conflict situation we had ever experienced since we’d had carriers.

And I challenged people to name one situation in which that capability had not been instrumental in getting a good outcome.

Sir Henry had only two mini-carriers in his day and I’m sure he is looking down on us with envy.

Last year our mighty Queen Elizabeth tested out the F35b aircraft at WESTLANT.

This year it will be returning to the Eastern seaboard to conduct flight trials with our own F35b future fighter.

And when Prince of Wales joins her in the fleet in the near future…we will have one carrier available at very high readiness at all times…

And this will match our strategic nuclear deterrent with a conventional one.

I want to make sure that we make the most of this incredible sovereign capability.

And that’s why today I can announce that we will develop a new policy that will set out how those ships will deliver for our nation in the years ahead.

The national carrier policy will lay the blueprint for how we use them to deliver global Britain’s objectives around the world.

Our carriers are setting the tone for the future Navy that I want to see and they’re instilling confidence, closing deals and protecting the rules-based order.

And projecting our intent in uncertain and a challenging world.

…a world that is becoming increasingly complex

… the challenge of China rising

…the threat from a Russia resurgent

…the ever-changing shape of violent extremism and terrorism

….the growth of cyber threats…and organised crime

The grey areas of new weapons and new theatres.

There are huge challenges ahead of us, and there will be many demands made of us.

So, we had better be prepared.

Like Sir Henry, when he gate crashed that emergency cabinet and Thatcher asked him what she could do for him.

He replied ‘No, Prime Minister, it’s what I can do for you’,

So, what are we doing to stay ready?

In the past 12 months we’ve been… training in Norway’s Arctic tundra

Drug busting in the Arabian Gulf…establishing field hospitals in the South Sudan

Helping enforce UN sanctions in South Pacific

And escorting Russian vessels off the premises

And, silent and undetected you’re maintaining our continuous-at-sea deterrent.

In all that you do you carry the reputation of Great Britain with you

…because you influence and you shape the world around you

…you’re the prototype that other seeks to emulate

…and partner of choice for our allies

And I’m proud that you’re strengthening partnerships around the world at all times…

With HMS Defender supporting NATO while on Exercise Formidable Shield.

With HMS Montrose and our Mine Countermeasures Force now permanently in the Middle East and a Naval Support Facility in Bahrain – keeping vital shipping lanes open

With our Royal Navy soon to sail to the Baltic as part of the Joint Expeditionary Force – reinforcing partnerships with like-minded northern European allies

And with our development of the North Atlantic Joint Operating Area…that will soon guard mile after mile of vital waterway.

Our people are not just exceptionally brave but also enormously innovative and creative. Today they’re doing everything

…from devising new environmentally-friendly ways to power headquarters in the field

…to delivering AI and robotics into every fighting arm

…courtesy of our new pioneering new Naval X accelerator

And at the very pinnacle of the pyramid you’ll find the Royal Marines

…developing Future Commando Force

In a reimagined global Britain, Defence will continue to be the first duty of the nation

But it must up to our ambition:

…maintaining a ruthless focus on its mission

…becoming more forward deployed

…and going out of its way to work with friends and allies

But if our future fleet is to respond to the growing demands, we need to do much more:

Investment will remain critical

We have done a great deal to drive out inefficiencies in defence

But there is more for us to do.

And today you will hearing about the direction and innovation in the RN, about our new capabilities coming online and being planned.

But I think we need to get some fundamentals right too if we are going to match the Navy and the nation’s ambition.

In 2015 we rightly committed to meet NATO commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Understandably people focus on that number. Politicians point to it. And rightly encourage other nations to match it.

But that’s not the whole story.

I just want us to briefly recap the headlines from the last three defence reviews. In 1997, the review pledged to deliver 32 destroyers and frigates and 2 Amphibious Assault Ships. In the event, we got the 2 Assault ship…but only six frigates and destroyers.

In 2010 SDSR, we said we would deliver 2 carriers and 19 destroyers and frigates …of which 6 were Type 45s and 13 were Type 26s. Well we got the carriers. But the 13 Type 26s were reduced to 8 and we’ve ordered 3 of them.

And in SDSR 2015 we set out a shopping list of 8 T26s, 5 Type 31e, 2 OPVs and 4 ballistic missile submarines. I am determined that remains on track.

I ask you, what is the point of methodically reviewing threats and tasks, formulating capability and then not delivering it?

What’s the point of building ships only to mothball them for lack of crew, spares or funds?

What is the point of costly design and innovation if we only intend to build a handful?

What is the point of running on old vessels and delaying new ones and running up massive costs in the process?

If the RN and wider defence is to deliver on the ambitions of our country, then we must tackle both the funding and the political behaviours which constantly undermine it.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to be saying more about how we build on all the good work and lessons to date, most notably from the carrier alliance.

To how we ensure Defence sits at the heart of the prosperity agenda.

To end the vicious circle of unfulfilled SDSRs and more of the same.

To create a virtuous circle where we recognise that it’s long order books and a steady drumbeat in our yards that strengthens our supply chain and brings down the overall cost of procurement. What’s needed is a closer partnership with industry that gives them confidence to invest and build and us the confidence that we can and must buy British.

We must recognise that if Britain’s armed forces don’t use it, Britain’s businesses will find it harder to sell it. We have to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.

And we must do more to maximise the full value of our resources to build up Britain…not only is that necessary in terms of creating skills and resilience.

But it’s vital in creating an environment where Defence gets the critical investment it needs.

Now as I stand before you today, I can’t tell you that The Treasury is going to welcome that message. I cannot tell you that The Treasury will agree with all of my message.

What I can promise you though, is that The Treasury will hear this message.

We know that Defence must play a much greater role in the whole of government’s prosperity agenda.


What does all this mean for industry? It means we’re looking to you to match our ambition. To get the ships we need, we need the shipbuilding. That means improving the relationship between industry and Government

A few years ago, Sir John Parker’s report laid bare the challenges. The old days of changing requirements on a whim and being vague about what we need in the long-term, that must end our Recent Acquisition Review. Took a sample of live MOD programmes.

It found on average that the initial estimated cost of a project rose by 35 per cent and delivery time by 46 per cent. That’s not just costing us time and money…that is damaging our operational effectiveness.

So my challenge to industry is to become more sustainable. To do more to deliver value for money. To stick to fixed project budgets and to innovate in the way you build. To up your competitiveness…building exportability in as standard and to deliver faster…the days of taking decades to build a ship are over.

I know you’ve been told this before, but what’s different now is that both you and I recognise that the politics also needs to change.

And we have to continually learn.

Which is why I’ve commissioned work examining the lessons from the Mars tanker procurement, especially for our UK supply chain.

Britain already has incredible shipbuilding heritage but I think we should prepare for a fantastic future, too.

Aircraft Carrier Alliance showed that Britain has what it takes to produce first class fifth generation ships.

Just as the lessons of Type 26 is that we have the capability to design frigates that are the envy of the world.

We need to learn these lessons as we bring in our next generation of Fleet Solid Support Ships…our logistic backbone. So it’s time for a sea change in industry as well. Let’s replace Sir John’s old vicious cycle with a virtuous circle.

And let’s remember Sir Henry’s favourite words:

The sea endures no makeshifts. Discipline, courage and contempt for all that is pretentious and insincere. These are the teaching of the ocean and the elements – and they have been the qualities in all age of the British sailor.

As we prepare the next chapter for the fleet…

As we go into the next CSR.

As we transform defence

Let’s have some honesty about what it takes.

Let’s have some honesty about what it costs.

Let’s have some confidence about its value and some rigour in the planning.

Let’s have some excellence in our partnership and some clarity in our mission.

As your Secretary of State all I ask is for your help in that task.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Speech on Sexual Health Rights

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, at Canada House in London on 8 April 2019.

Thank you everyone for being here and thank you to Canada for hosting us.

A lot of people have thanked me for coming along today because they know the turmoil that Parliament is in, all the stresses and strains that are going on and it is difficult times that is for sure. And quite a lot of people say to me how do you keep going, why have you stuck with it, why have you stayed there. I say something like it is my duty, the country needs us to find a way through, we need to hold Remainers and Brexiteers together. But the real reason is that I want to stay in post to attend Women Deliver.

It is fantastic today to be able to celebrate our partnership on gender equality, announced by our Prime Ministers in 2017.

It is wonderful to be amongst so many amazing women who it is my privilege to know a few of you and the amazing work you do. And also some amazing men as well. Dom McVey, a CDC supported entrepreneur who has done fantastic work on women’s economic empowerment and now is launching some new initiatives to help end period poverty worldwide. Thank you to all the fellas who are also doing their bit too.

And there is a lot to celebrate. In the UK the female employment rate is at a record high and the gender pay gap is at a record low. We’ve introduced new laws to protect women from domestic abuse, FGM, stalking, and forced marriage.

My department, the Government Equalities Office, this month moved into the Cabinet Office, the hub and the heart of Whitehall to really ensure that we are delivering. And the only female mouser the Cabinet Office cat, has received a promotion too.

Meanwhile, in Canada you have created a Department for Women and Gender Equality. You have made gender budgeting a mandatory part of the federal budget-making process, and delivering your strategy to prevent gender-based violence, and have recently passed into law protections for pay equality, based on the UK’s gender pay gap reporting, I am delighted at that.

But all too often, in too much of the world, women’s rights are actually being rolled back. Britain and Canada has shown real leadership together on this issue and that leadership is needed now more than ever.

Millions of girls and women are living in poverty, denied an education, have inadequate healthcare, are routinely assaulted, unable to live full and happy lives. And no country has yet achieved gender equality.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a vital way to drive and measure change. This year, the UK will be reporting on our progress towards implementing them, as part of our Voluntary National Review.

Global Goal 5, on gender equality, is critical in and of itself, but without it we will never be able to deliver on the other goals. Everyone, whatever their gender, has a stake in gender equality.

Domestically and overseas, the UK is championing efforts to better understand the situation of the poorest and most marginalised women. Just last month, I announced vital new work to end period poverty and shame in the UK and overseas. I also announced our upcoming strategy to ensure that every woman in the UK has freedom, choice, capacity, resilience, support, and protection to do whatever she wants to do.

Freedom and choice are guiding principles for all our gender equality work. There are people around the world who want to control women, who want to restrict their choices and deny them their rights.

That’s why it is so important that we use platforms like Women Deliver continually to renew our commitment to women’s rights and specifically to comprehensive sexual and reproductive rights for all women.

Leadership means not shying away from the issues of access to safe abortion, when the evidence shows us that these services save women’s lives.

Comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) is an area where the UK and Canada are continuing to deepen our partnership as likeminded leaders in this field.

In January this year, we co-hosted a multi sector Safe Abortion dialogue here in London to drive progress and momentum in this absolutely critical area.

And at the Commission on the Status of Women last month we held a strong line together, resisting the “pushback” as the Secretary General called it.

We are united in our efforts to work with the most complex and challenging issues that threaten women’s health and lives when others are shying away from them and I thank Canada for their leadership in this area.

Everyone should have control over their own bodies and their own futures. That means every girl and every woman having access to the information they need, the freedom to choose what’s right for them, and the services and support they need to make their own decisions.

I am proud that thanks to UK aid, millions of women in the world’s poorest countries are able access the desperately-needed sexual and reproductive health services they need and want to use. The UK has been a world leader in this area and will proudly continue to be one.

My Department is also supporting the deepening of civil society partnerships through our UK aid Connect programme.

A new £42 million programme looking at SRHR will support two consortia of NGO partners on this theme, and I am pleased to announce that these will be led by Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

This programme will drive innovation and learning by bringing diverse partners together to work on complex and neglected issues such as increasing access to safe abortion and improving the provision of SRHR in crisis settings.

Some of the most marginalised women and girls in the world are those living in conflict and crisis areas. Together we are pushing for a humanitarian system that responds to women and girls’ specific needs, but also sees them as active agents of change.

We worked closely with Canada to develop the landmark G7 Whistler Declaration on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Humanitarian Action.

We are now teaming up to implement these commitments, including through the Call to Action on Protection from Gender Based Violence in Emergencies.

Successful societies are those where women have control over their own bodies, are places where every mother can enjoy a wanted and healthy pregnancy, where every child can live beyond their fifth birthday, where no woman or girl is forced to marry before she is ready.

Together with our partners, including Canada, we are supporting the UNICEF and UNFPA global programme, working to end child marriage, reaching millions of adolescent girls across 12 countries, and have co-sponsored every UN resolution on ending child marriage.

We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Canada on the international stage to realise the rights of all the world’s women and girls.

This was demonstrated recently at a joint side event at the Commission on the Status of Women on LGBT rights. I look forwards to deepening our collaboration through Women Deliver and beyond.

We must empower women to make their own decisions. We must give women the freedom to choose what is right for them.

We must invest in them so that they can complete their education and fulfil their full potential.

And we should recognise gender equality as one of the great human rights issues of our time.

Thank you.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Statement on Ebola

Below is the text of the statement made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, in the House of Commons on 4 April 2019.

The number of cases of Ebola in the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has recently passed 1000. Given this, it is both proper and timely to update the House on the steps which the UK Government are taking to continue to support the response in DRC and to ensure robust and effective preparedness in neighbouring countries.

Since I last updated the House on 14 February, there has been an increase in the number of confirmed and probable cases of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in eastern DRC. As of 31 March 2019, 1,089 Ebola cases have been recorded (1,023 confirmed and 66 probable) and 679 people have died. Twenty-one health zones have been affected and 12 are currently reporting active new cases.

Despite the success of the response in curbing the disease in a number of health zones, the outbreak is still not under control. The last few weeks have seen a substantial increase in the number of cases reported, and the security context remains extremely challenging. In late February, two Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola treatment centres were attacked in Butembo and Katwa. The UK condemns these attacks in the strongest of terms; health workers fighting this disease should never be the target of violence and nor should patients. However, I am pleased to note that the affected treatment centres have now re-opened, run for the moment by the Government of DRC’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), both of whom the UK is supporting.

The attacks underline the difficulty of responding to this outbreak in an area of ongoing conflict, and the vital importance of strengthening community engagement to break the chain of transmission. Despite the challenges faced there has not been a rapid rise in cases as was seen during the West Africa outbreak in 2014-16.

With UK support and technical advice, the response is now shifting to become more locally-owned, including through the hiring and training of more local staff, which will have the additional benefit of building longer-term health capacity and resilience. The response communications strategy has been revised to ensure that messages come primarily from local, influential leaders and figureheads.​

The UK remains one of the major supporters of the response and DFID has recently released new funds to the third strategic response plan for this outbreak. Some of this new funding has been used to target specific areas of the response that need strengthening, particularly around infection prevention and control, and water, sanitation and hygiene. The vaccination campaign remains a key element of the response, with over 93 thousand people vaccinated in DRC so far. Once again, at the request of the Government of DRC who are leading the response I am not announcing specific funding figures to avoid putting front-line responders at further risk of attack.

As mentioned in my statement to the House on 26 March regarding Cyclone Idai, I recently spoke with both Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, and Sir Mark Lowcock, Head of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to underline UK support and urge further measures on the part of the UN system in tackling the outbreak. We welcome WHO and OCHA strengthening their leadership in-country to support the DRC Government in delivering an effective response.

There remains a significant risk of transmission to neighbouring countries and measures are being taken to prepare accordingly. The UK is leading donor efforts to support regional preparedness. In Uganda we have supported the vaccination of 4,420 front-line health workers, with a further 1,000 planned over the next month. We have also helped establish a screening facility at the border with DRC. In Rwanda we have strengthened surveillance activities at borders, carried out infection prevention and control training, and supported the roll out of vaccinations for at-risk health workers. We have also supported similar activities including in South Sudan, and have recently deployed staff to strengthen efforts in Burundi.

The risk of Ebola to the UK population remains very low. Public Health England continues to monitor the situation daily and review the risk assessment on a two-weekly basis.

The UK is committed to supporting our partners to end this outbreak of Ebola as quickly as possible. We have continued our “no regrets” approach, providing both funding and expertise—recognising that this is an international crisis that both requires and deserves a sustained international response. Tackling the spread of deadly diseases in Africa is firmly in our national interest—saving lives, reducing suffering, and helping prevent transmission across borders.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Statement on Cyclone Idai

Below is the text of the statement made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, in the House of Commons on 26 March 2019.

Cyclone Idai, one of the most severe cyclones ever to hit southern Africa, has devastated parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, including many areas that were already affected by severe flooding. The UN estimates that over 2.6 million people have been affected across the three countries. The majority of them are in Mozambique—the country hardest hit by the disaster—where approximately 129,000 people are sheltering in accommodation centres, and where the UN estimates that 1.85 million people are in need of assistance. In Malawi, 87,000 people have been displaced. In Zimbabwe, initial UN figures estimate that 80,000 people have lost their homes entirely. On 25 March, the UN launched a $281.7 million funding appeal for the response in Mozambique.​

The UK Government have made £22 million in aid available for the response to date, which is being led by the Governments of the affected countries and the UN. Some £18 million of this is in direct support to the response in the three affected countries and up to £4 million will be used to match the public’s generous contributions to the disaster emergency committee’s cyclone Idai appeal.

In expectation of the extreme weather, DFID-funded partner organisations pre-positioned essential supplies such as hygiene kits and medical supplies. UK aid funding is being used to send life-saving relief supplies and equipment, including 7,550 shelter kits and 100 family tents which are now in use in Mozambique. Following an assessment of need, further supplies are being flown into Mozambique on a charter aircraft from Doncaster Sheffield airport and an RAF A400M Atlas aircraft, which arrived in Mozambique on 26 March.

UK aid is also supporting the World Food Programme (WFP) to feed 400,000 people in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone through the distribution of emergency food and food vouchers. DFID has deployed 12 humanitarian experts to Mozambique, where they are assisting with the co-ordination of the international response. In addition, specialists in food security, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene from DFID’s Mozambique office are travelling to the affected area. A five-person UK medical assessment and co-ordination team also arrived in Mozambique on 25 March. The team will conduct a scoping visit to Beira and Chimoio this week to assess how the UK can assist in supporting emergency medical and health needs in affected areas. Four further logisticians, in addition to the three already on the ground, are due to arrive in Mozambique on 27 March, and DFID have contracted two airport handling operations experts to provide training to staff at Beira airport.

In Malawi, the UK’s package of emergency support is funding shelter, food assistance, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). These will be delivered through the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and the Red Cross. The funding will target the most affected areas of Phalombe, Nsanje, and Chikwawa. Some 65,000 people will be provided with emergency shelter, 150,000 people will receive food assistance for two months, 250,000 people will be provided with WASH support and 130,000 people will be helped to access health services.

In Zimbabwe, UK aid funding has been provided for health, WASH, and child protection assistance in the worst-affected areas, including Chimanimani. DFID is also supporting the immediate provision of emergency latrines and sanitation equipment. DFID is working with leading flooding experts at the Universities of Bristol and Reading, as well as the European centre for medium-range weather forecasts, to forecast how the extent and impact of the floods might change up to 10 days in advance. With more heavy rains forecast over the coming days, and bad weather and access already posing challenges for those on the ground, this allows aid workers to plan ahead and prioritise their resources.

The UK is currently the largest bilateral donor to the response. The UN has allocated $20 million in funding from its central emergency response fund (CERF), to which the UK was the largest donor last year. In addition, the European Commission is providing €3.5 million in support, and a number of other donors have also made ​contributions. I am in touch with international counterparts to encourage others to contribute and ensure that sufficient funding is made available. Last week, I spoke with both Sir Mark Lowcock, the UN’s emergency relief co-ordinator, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus of the World Health Organisation and called on them to ensure that the UN mobilises quickly and effectively. Along with the Minister of State for Africa, I will be speaking with other senior figures and ministers from other donor countries in the coming days to encourage them to contribute to the international response.

Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and I have written to the Heads of State and Foreign Ministers of the affected countries to express condolences and to offer our support and expertise in disaster response.

The UK’s response to the cyclone is a whole-of-government effort both in the affected countries and in the UK. My Department has the overall lead on the response, with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Health and Social Care, and Public Health England. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has provided consular assistance to the small number of British nationals in the affected area and has updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to the affected areas in Mozambique. We continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to deploy further support should it be required.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Speech at AIDSfree Cities Global Forum

Below is the text of the speech made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 30 January 2019.

Good morning everyone, the first thing I want to say is a huge thank you for you all for coming together and for our shared commitment to create an AIDS free for all.

I am just going to go slightly off-script, don’t panic Officials but are Dean Street in the room today? I just wanted to give a shout out to Dean Street, because on my travels I have met so many people that have benefited from your amazing service. What you do is truly phenomenal and I think sometimes when we look at, what my budget is doing and DHSC’s budget is doing; we think about tests, we think about drugs and we think about all those numbers and things we can measure, what we sometimes don’t think about is health care professional time.

The thing that everyone always says about Dean Street is that quite often very vulnerable people with very complex lives are given time with health care professionals that makes a difference to them and gave them something that their GP couldn’t do for them, that other people couldn’t do for them and that I think is absolutely fantastic. At a moment when the Health Secretary and I and other members of the Cabinet are scratching our heads and thinking about Global Britain this is what Global Britain means to me, it’s our technical expertise, it’s our fantastic NHS as well as our budgets and all that we want to lever in and it’s everything that Britain has to offer the rest of the world; but Dean Street you’re wonderful.

I am delighted that the Department of Health and Social Care, is joining with DFID along with the the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Evening Standard as well as the Fast Track Cities Initiative and Johnson&Johnson to achieve this fantastic partnership. And through the partnership we’ve highlighted that – while the world has made great strides in addressing HIV and AIDS – we must step up our efforts if we are to meet the Global Goal 3.3 to end AIDS by 2030.

That battle is far from over especially in poorer countries where stigma, lack of awareness and scarcity of life-saving medicines may persist. AIDS remember, is still the biggest killer of women of reproductive age around the world.

The UK continues to be at the forefront of the global AIDS response. In 2017, UK aid helped the Global Fund provide 17.5 million people with treatment and protect nearly 700,000 babies from infection. And our 20-year agreement with Unitaid and support to the Clinton Health Access Initiative has given the world great advancements in HIV testing and treatment, at affordable costs.

Our task is not easy, while we continue to advance some treatment, we must also address some of the most challenging drivers of HIV infection. Through UK aid supported research we now know that we will not reduce HIV infections if we don’t also address gender inequality and violence against women and girls. That’s why DFID continues to put women and girls at the heart of everything that we do.

In some parts of the world we are also seeing growing stigma and discrimination and a backlash against rights, all of which fuel HIV infections among some of the world’s most vulnerable people. In July last year, we proudly extended our support to the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund by £6m to support populations affected by HIV.

And we are also delivering change at home. In the LGBT Action Plan, with my other hat on, we have committed to ensuring that health and social care services better meet the needs of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and and trans people. From appointing a National Adviser on LGBT health, to make the changes to gender identity services, and to ensure that LGBT people receive better and more appropriate care.

In London and the UK, we have demonstrated what is possible if the right services and support are in place. We are so proud of London’s success and we are thrilled to be able to share our experiences and inspire other cities to accelerate towards their own 90-90-90 targets.

Through the AIDSfree appeal we are proudly supporting the Elton John AIDS Foundation to expand testing and treatment in Maputo in Mozambique and Nairobi in Kenya, for vulnerable young people. Through UK Aid Match, we are doubling public donations made through the Evening Standard appeal up to £2m, for projects in these two cities.

UK Aid Match means that every time the British public donate to the AIDSfree appeal, we will match this pound for pound and double their generosity. In this case, it will directly change – and in many cases, save – the lives of people living with HIV in those two cities. The appeal is still going so please help us publicise it.

And also through our significant funding to Unitaid, UK aid is supporting further work by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and it’s partners in Kenya to expand HIV testing and treatment for young men. This is the first project within the MenStar Coalition an initiative launched in Amsterdam last year to tackle HIV and AIDS which I was very pleased to endorse.

Today is about celebrating success and driving action – I applaud you for your leadership, your commitment and this partnership. We look forward to a productive day ahead, and to seeing the strides that we are going to take to achieve Global Goal 3.3: to end AIDS by 2030. Starting right here today at the Global Forum.

The scale of our ambition is clear, we all passionately believe that we can create an AIDS free future for the world, and I know that we’re going to.

Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Speech at Companies to Inspire Africa 2019

Below is the text of the speech made Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, on 16 January 2019.

Well good morning everyone, and can I first start by echoing the sympathies that David gave about those caught up in the very sad events in Nairobi, my thoughts, the thoughts of my departmental colleagues and my parliamentary colleagues, I know Andrew Selous is here to today, are very much with everyone who has been caught up in those tragic events.

After the events of last night in the House of Commons, which were rather depressing, I felt it was very important that I did something this morning that was uplifting, constructive with inspirational people and of which we could be very proud, and represented absolutely Global Britain. So, thank you David and the London Stock Exchange Group for inviting me to launch the Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 report.

I would like to start by congratulating all the companies featured. From 32 countries, with 7 major sectors represented, you have been nominated as Africa’s most inspiring small and medium-sized enterprises. It is you and your successes that will demonstrate globally the opportunities that are increasingly present in Africa.

I am particularly pleased that nearly a quarter of the companies in this year’s report are led by women, almost double that of the report published in 2017.

And we know that globally companies with greater levels of gender equality also do better in terms of income, growth and competitiveness. And today I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the inspirational female business leaders named in the report. Companies like Lioness of Africa, which aims to support 1 million African women entrepreneurs to achieve success. As female leaders you are role models that can make change happen. I applaud and admire you all.

All of us in this room know Africa is a continent alive with opportunity. Five of the world’s fastest-growing economies are African and by 2050, a quarter of the world’s consumers will live there. This opportunity is why we saw Ghana hosting an Investment Summit last year, attended by over 50 British companies. It is why the London Stock Exchange has partnered with African Securities Exchanges like Casablanca and Nairobi. And it is why the Prime Minister recently visited the continent spending her time with business and political leaders, entrepreneurs and young people as well as throwing a few shapes – there’s still time David, there’s still time.

They told her that they wanted a modern partnership with the UK that delivers mutual benefit. By combining African-led ambition with British expertise we can do just that – unlocking high-quality investment that delivers more opportunities, exports and jobs for both Africa and the UK.

Global Britain is committed to this new partnership with Africa. The Prime Minister announced a radical expansion of the UK government’s presence, bringing in trade experts and investment specialists to deliver on our shared interests and find solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

And later this year the UK will host the UK-Africa Investment Summit, which will bring together key government and business people from the UK and Africa to strengthen our links and make the most of the fantastic opportunities that are there. We want companies like you to play your part in the Summit to make it a game-changer for investment in Africa.

We want to leverage the UK’s reach and unique value of the City of London to make the UK Africa’s finance partner of choice.

The London Stock Exchange Group has shown strong partnership and leadership in this area, helping to build Global Britain. Through its Africa Advisory Group, the London Stock Exchange has brought together key business leaders, policymakers and investors from across Africa to take the steps needed to develop Africa’s capital markets. We look forward to working closely with the Group this year.

Developing Africa’s capital markets is essential for unlocking finance for infrastructure and investment that will support job creation and economic growth in the long term. But these capital markets need to be supported by a well-regulated financial sector.

When I was at the London Stock Exchange during the Commonwealth Summit last April I announced a new DFID partnership with the Bank of England and the central banks of Ghana, South Africa and Sierra Leone to share regulatory expertise and enhance financial stability, helping promote economic growth through increased investor confidence. We will continue to scale up our work with the Bank of England throughout the course of this year.

UK aid is mobilising the private investment needed to deliver the ]Global Goals]( and that is why CDC, the UK’s Development Finance Institution, has committed up to £3.5 billion of new African investments, and why up to £300 million has been committed from the Private Infrastructure Development Group. These partnerships will lay the foundations for new trading and business opportunities.

And when I was last here I announced the UK’s ambition to help African countries raise debt in their local currencies. In November we celebrated the first ever Ghanaian Cedi-denominated bond to list to London, made possible through the DFID-backed Private Infrastructure Development Group.

Investments by the DFID-backed Financial Sector Deepening Africa has supported 38 local currency bond issues by private companies and financial institutions in 16 African countries, in a range of sectors such as agriculture, energy, housing, microfinance and infrastructure. Local currency finance listings such as these are contributing to increased financial stability by ensuring that growth is fuelled by lower-risk finance over the long-term.

And we are committed to supporting innovative African companies to make it easier for finance to flow into and across the continent. It is estimated that US$66 billion in remittances flow into Africa annually, with approximately 10% originating in the UK. The transfer of money by foreign workers to their families in their home countries is a lifeline to many in Africa. But many are losing their hard-earned money to too high remittance fees.

That is why we are announcing £2 million investment for MFS Africa, an innovative mobile money company that makes it easier and cheaper to send remittances to and across Africa. This is a clear example of the UK honouring its commitments to the G20 and Global Goals targets of reducing those costs.

Our investments and partnerships are already bringing benefits for both Africa and the UK. The CDC-backed company, Blue Skies, features in the report and is a leading producer of fresh cut fruits and juices and is the largest private sector company in Ghana. It sells its produce across Africa, and also trades with UK supermarkets. You can find Blue Skies products in Sainsburys, Waitrose and on Amazon Fresh – a clear demonstration that investing in African companies is good for Africa and it is good for Britain too.

The UK values such partnerships. We bring the technical knowledge of our professionals, and we bring the values of a compassionate global nation. Our values sit at the heart of our aid spending.

In October I announced a new campaign to find out the appetite of British people who might want their savings or their pension to be used to support the Global Goals and to potentially deliver better returns for them. Over the coming months we will be speaking to financial institutions, savers, pension holders and the wider British public to help shape new investment products to deliver the Global Goals.

This report demonstrates that great partnerships can lead to great things. Working together, the UK and Africa can generate private sector investment, which in turn is creating business and investment opportunities for both Africa and the UK.

2019 is the year of significant opportunities to take those partnerships further – and I very much look forward to seeing the results. Thank you all very much.