The Defense Secretary has said the UK could establish new military bases in the Caribbean and the Far East. Gavin Williamson has told the Sunday Telegraph it would allow Britain to become a true global player following Brexit.
Mr Williamson said: I am very much looking at how we can get as much of our resources forward based, actually creating a deterrent but also taking a British presence.
We are looking at those opportunities not just in the Far East but also in the Caribbean as well. But he declined to identify possible locations.
He said he expected a dramatic shift in political focus after Brexit - with the UK building deeper relationships with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Caribbean states and nations across Africa.
Mr Williamson predicted these countries would look to the UK for the moral leadership, the military leadership and the global leadership.
He said Britain should be much more optimistic about our future as we exit the European Union. He regarded the UK's move out of the EU as the country's biggest moment as a nation since the end of the Second World War.
This is our moment to be that true global player once more - and I think the armed forces play a really important role as part of that.
In response Tory backbencher Anna Soubry who's a Remainer accused the Defense Secretary of having naked ambition. She denounced his comments as utter twaddle, insisting that EU membership does not constrain UK defense policy.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Chris Leslie, a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said: Gavin Williamson's claims that Brexit would allow the UK to build bases in the Far East or the Caribbean betray an ignorance of military strategy that is worrying in a Defense Secretary.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign for a second EU referendum, said: If the Defense Secretary really thinks Brexit will make Britain a 'true global player', he's not read the reports his own Government have been producing.
They tell a different story of Brexit Britain being put through economic ruin and being locked out of key defense capabilities which keep us safe.
An anonymous source close to Williamson earlier told the newspaper that new bases could be stationed in Singapore or Brunei, and on Montserrat Island or in Guyana within the next few years.
The UK currently has 15 overseas military bases, including on the Falkland Islands, in Cyprus, Canada, Gibraltar and the British Indian Ocean Territory, but British forces are due to leave their German base in 2019.