PM unveils £16.5bn boost for military with 'energy weapons' on ships and vehicles

19 November 2020, 12:56 | Updated: 19 November 2020, 14:12

Boris Johnson has unveiled ambitious £16.5bn plans to upgrade the UK's armed forces including "laser" weapons on ships and combat vehicles.

The Prime Minister also said UK warships and combat vehicles will carry "directed energy weapons" to destroy targets with "inexhaustible lasers".

Boris Johnson committed to renewing the UK's nuclear deterrent as well as increasing shipbuilding in the UK.

He told the Commons: "We're going to use our extra defence spending to restore Britain's position as the foremost naval power in Europe."

The Prime Minister said: "This will spur a renaissance of British shipbuilding across the UK. In Glasgow and South Belfast, Appledore and Birkenhead.

"Guaranteed jobs and illuminating the benefits of the Union in the white light of the arc-welders' torch.

"If there is one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense it is building more ships for the Royal Navy."

He added: "We shall deploy more of our naval assets in the world's most important regions protecting the shipping lanes that supply our nation and we shall press on with renewing our nuclear deterrent."

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer said while he welcomes the additional defence funding, it is "a spending announcement without a strategy".

Responding to the Prime Minister's statement, he told the Commons: "Under my leadership, national security will always be Labour's top priority.

"Britain must once again show global leadership and be a moral force for good in the world - both in how we tackle present and emerging security threats, but also in how we build a fairer, greener and more secure world.

"So we welcome this additional funding for our defence and security forces and we agree that it is vital to end what the Prime Minister calls - I have to say, with complete lack of self-awareness - an era of retreat.

"But this is a spending announcement without a strategy. The Government has yet again pushed back vital parts of the Integrated Review and there is no clarity over the Government's strategic priorities."