UK pitches 'global Britain' by flexing military muscle - defence minister

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Gavin Williamson MP will announced today that the Royal Navy's £3bn flagship aircraft carrier will be sent to the Pacific region as well as the Mediterranean and Middle East. However, the Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to become operational in 2020. Yet, Brexit supporters see it as a chance for Britain to take on a new global role.

In August, the Royal Navy's HMS Albion, an amphibious assault ship, passed through Chinese-claimed areas in the South China Sea en route to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, prompting a furious response from Beijing.

The carrier will take part in the mission along with F-35 jets from the United Kingdom and US.

Mr Williamson said Britain must be prepared "to use hard power" against global adversaries in a major escalation of the government's interventionist foreign policy.

Williamson will highlight close U.S. -UK military links and echo Trump's call for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to increase their spending, citing a need to better handle what Williamson called Russian provocation.

He said: "Such action from Russian Federation must come at a cost".

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Britain should use Brexit as a springboard to "maximise our influence around the world" and strengthen a close alliance with the US amid security threats from Russian Federation and China, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Monday.

"To talk but fail to act risks our nation being seen as little more than a paper tiger", he will add.

Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute on Monday, Mr Williamson will unveil plans to modernise the armed forces, and say it must increase its "mass and lethality".

The Defence Secretary will say the Queen Elizabeth's first mission will be part of "making Global Britain a reality".

According to Williamson, the combined US-UK air wing aboard the carrier will improve "the reach and lethality of our forces" while "reinforcing the fact that the US remains our very closest of partners".

He will also confirm plans for new British bases in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific.

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He said the military's cyber capabilities will be reinforced to defend and launch attacks.

"And action, on occasion, that may lead us to have to intervene alone, " he said.

'If we do not, we will find ourselves with fewer options when we face threats in the future'. "And, a nation that people can turn to when the world needs leadership", Williamson will say.

"And with the world changing so rapidly, it is up to us to seize the opportunity that Brexit brings", he will note.

The defence secretary won an extra £1.8bn for defence in the last budget.

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