§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied that British North Sea interests are sufficiently protected from surprise attack; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Speed
Royal Navy vessels and Royal Air Force Nimrod aircraft carry out regular deterrent and surveillance patrols of our installations in the North Sea. Specially trained forces are also available to intervene on them at short notice if needed. This capability will be further enhanced following the formation of a new Royal Marine company in May whose duties will include reacting to incidents on offshore rigs. I am satisfied that these arrangements respond suitably to the need to protect our interests in the North Sea from surprise attack and to deal with possible emergencies.