HL Deb 09 March 2001 vol 623 cc54-5WA
Lord Stoddart of Swindon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have for major future public events related to defence. [HL1127]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

In 1999 the then Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Robertson, announced a series of events, now under the umbrella title Defence 2000, which would follow the ending of the Royal Tournament. The spirit of the tournament would be taken forward with an event in London and a military festival held annually outside the capital at different military locations. The Royal Military Tattoo 2000 held on Horse Guards Parade last summer was a major undertaking for the armed services. It was the Ministry of Defence's principal contribution to the Millennium celebrations and was an outstanding success. London will continue to be well served with military pageantry, not least in terms of state occasions, the annual Beating the Retreat and Queen's Birthday Parade. We intend to identify possible future occasions where an event on the scale of RMT 2000 would be both appropriate and practicable.

In 2001 the Royal Navy will host the first regional event in Portsmouth. It will build on the very successful International Festival of the Sea format, held previously in Bristol in 1996 and Portsmouth in 1998. This year's International Festival of the Sea will feature significant contributions from all three services under the title Defence 2001. These regional events will allow our armed services to display their latest equipment, as well as providing a glimpse into the future. There will be no regional event in 2002 because of the involvement of the armed services in the celebrations for The Queen's Golden Jubilee, in particular the Royal visit to the armed services at Portsmouth and the Thanksgiving Service at St Paul's Cathedral. The Royal Air Force will host the regional event in 2003 and the Army in 2004.