Britain sends two warships to Persian Gulf to ‘protect our ships and citizens’

Britain has sent two warships to the Persian Gulf in the wake of the US drone strike on Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani.

HMS Montrose and HMS Defender – a Type 23 frigate and a Type 45 destroyer will be accompanying British ships to ‘take all necessary steps to protect our ships and citizens’.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace ordered the warships to the Strait of Hormuz to ensure the British-flagged ships make it through the perilous region safely.

Tomorrow, Boris Johnson will fly back to the UK from his holiday in Mustique as he faces the biggest test of his diplomacy in his premiership so far. 

He will likely be greeted by Sir Mark Sedwill, the National Security Adviser, as tensions are rising over the airstrike.

Sedwill has been locked in meetings today with the heads of the UK intelligence agencies on potential risks to ships and citizens in the Middle East. 

Mr Wallace said: ‘Yesterday I spoke to my US counterpart Secretary Esper and we urge all parties to engage to de-escalate the situation. 

‘During the last few months US forces in Iraq, who are based in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government, have been repeatedly attacked by Iranian backed militia.

‘I have instructed preparation for HMS Montrose and HMS Defender to return to accompanying duties of Red Ensign Shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Government will take all necessary steps to protect our ship and citizens at this time.’ 

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