Defence in the media: Friday 3 November

Today's defence related news includes widespread coverage of Gavin Williamson's appointment as Defence Secretary.

Gavin Williamson appointed Defence Secretary

There is widespread coverage of the appointment of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary, across newspaper and broadcast media.

 Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, said:

I am both honoured and excited to have been appointed Defence Secretary. I have always had the greatest admiration for the professionalism and valour of all those who serve in our country’s Armed Forces.

The United Kingdom faces rising threats in a worsening international security situation, making Defence’s work all the more important. It is imperative that we continue to take the fight to Daesh and keep Britain safe. As we leave the European Union, and forge a new Global Britain, Defence has the opportunity to deepen old friendships and contribute to building new ones around the world.

I am determined to ensure that the Armed Forces receive the recognition they deserve for the great work they do, including through the Armed Forces Covenant, and that they evolve both to meet the changing threats that we face, and to ensure that they properly represent the modern society that they defend.

Brecon Beacons

A number of national newspapers report on the deaths of three soldiers on the Brecon Beacons in 2013 this morning.

An MOD spokesperson said:

Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of Corporal James Dunsby, Lance Corporal Craig Roberts and Trooper Edward Maher. The MOD has previously accepted a Crown Censure and apologised for the failures identified by the Coroner and the Health and Safety Executive.
We have made improvements to reduce the risks on such exercises, and the Defence Safety Authority has conducted a Service Inquiry to identify lessons to prevent a recurrence of this tragedy.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act applies to MOD but not to certain military activities, which are specifically exempted. It is a matter for Parliament to decide how corporate manslaughter legislation should apply to certain military activities. Any decision to prosecute any personnel, veteran or serving, is made by the Service Prosecution Authority (SPA), an independent body.

London Poppy Day

There is widespread coverage reporting that servicemen and women descended upon the capital yesterday to lend their support to The Royal British Legion’s (TRBL) annual London Poppy Day. The new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Defence Ministers Earl Howe, Mark Lancaster and Tobias Ellwood showed their support at Waterloo station while Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin also showed her support at Westminster tube station.

Around 990 personnel from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force greeted commuters at underground and mainline railway stations across London, part of a bid to raise more than £1 million for TRBL in 24 hours. The Band of the Grenadier Guards livened up the busy Waterloo concourse in support of the appeal.

New Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson shows his support for London Poppy Day at Waterloo Station.