The following quotes are extracts from page 23 of the Strategic Defence and Security Review:
"A single carrier needs to be fully effective.
As currently designed, the Queen Elizabeth will not be fully interoperable with key allies, since their naval jets could not land on it.
Pursuit of closer partnership is a core strategic principle for the Strategic Defence and Security Review because it is clear that the UK will in most circumstances act militarily as part of a wider coalition.
We will therefore install catapult and arrestor gear.
This will delay the in-service date of the new carrier from 2016 to around 2020.
But it will allow greater interoperability with US and French carriers and naval jets.
It provides the basis for developing joint Maritime Task Groups in the future.
This should both ensure continuous carrier-strike availability,and reduce the overall carrier protection requirements on the rest of the fleet,releasing ships for other naval tasks such as protection of key sea-lanes, or conducting counter- piracy and narcotics operations."
"To provide further insurance against unpredictable changes in that strategic environment, our current plan is to hold one of the two new carriers at extended readiness.
That leaves open options to rotate them, to ensure a continuous UK carrier-strike capability; or to re-generate more quickly a two-carrier strike capability.
Alternatively, we might sell one of the carriers, relying on cooperation with a close ally to provide continuous carrier-strike capability."
These statements clearly raise some interesting questions about the government's defence policy.
They indicate that the defence of British interests,including the defence of overseas territories,may in future be at the indulgence of the French government.
Members of Parliament may wish to discuss this with the Prime Minister.
They might also like to ask him if he has had any discussions with the French government about the future of the independent British nuclear deterrent.