HC Deb 09 February 1998 vol 306 cc14-5
12. Mr. Waterson

What is his policy towards the twinning of HM ships with towns; and if he will make a statement. [26106]

Mr. Spellar

It is the policy of the Royal Navy that every ship should be affiliated to a town or district and that such an association should be positively fostered. An affiliation of that sort is of great benefit to the ship's company concerned.

Mr. Waterson

Is the Minister aware of the great affection that my constituents formed for HMS Juno during a long period of twinning, which ended only with the decommissioning of that vessel? Is he also aware that I had a supportive response from Admiral Sir Peter Abbott when I wrote to him about finding another vessel with which to twin Eastbourne? As a Minister, will the hon. Gentleman do what he can to push that process along?

Mr. Spellar

We are pleased to receive representations for twinning or for the association of names with particular towns. As I said, the services very much welcome that, as do the towns, and such association definitely contributes to morale and to the profile of defence within the community. Representations on the matter are always welcome and, if the hon. Gentleman writes to me, we shall start the appropriate process.