Mordaunt will not intervene over Navy captain relieved of aircraft carrier command

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt says she will not intervene in the case of a Royal Navy captain who has been relieved of his command of an aircraft carrier over the use of an official car.

Speaking in the Commons she said the matter was “for the Royal Navy to deal with” after Tory MP Dr Julian Lewis asked her to “personally look into” the case of Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest.

The chair of the defence select committee said: “As a Naval Reservist herself, will the Secretary of State personally look into the removal of the Captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth, apparently on the grounds that what may have been a misunderstanding in the use of a car supplied by the Ministry of Defence?

HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth Harbour (Steve Parsons/PA)

“If we lose talented people like this surely it’s not only unjust, but it’s a waste of all the investment that has been made in someone’s 29 unblemished year career.”

Ms Mordaunt gave the MP “assurances that I am fully aware of this situation”, saying: “I do understand this concern when we have invested in an individual and they are not able to carry out the tasks for which he was trained.”

She confirmed that Capt Cooke-Priest “remains in the Royal Navy”, but she added: “And it is a matter for the Royal Navy to deal with, and they are dealing with it.”

Last week it was revealed the officer had been relieved of the £3 billion aircraft carrier’s command over the alleged use of its official car, a Ford Galaxy, for personal trips.

In a statement the Royal Navy said Capt Cooke-Priest was being “reassigned” to a new role.

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