THE head of the Armed Forces is said to be ‘concerned’ over the decision to remove the captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth from his position, according to reports.
Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest will be ‘resassigned' from his position as commanding officer of the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier after he allegedly misused the ship’s official car.
It was alleged that he had taken the aircraft carrier’s Ford Galaxy out on weekends, contrary to official guidelines.
However despite the controversial decision to sack him as captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Cdre Cooke-Priest will be at the helm as she sails back to Portsmouth from Rosyth following the completion of routine maintenance work.
Now the head of the Armed Forces, General Sir Nick Carter has come to his defence.
Sir Nick, the Chief of the Defence Staff, is reportedly believed to have questioned if the allegations against Cdre Cooke-Priest had been properly investigated as well as whether he was given proper representation, according to the Daily Telegraph.
A senior Whitehall source reportedly told the paper: ‘Sir Nick was very surprised when he heard that the Navy was taking such precipitate action against a senior officer with such a distinguished track record.
‘There is concern that the allegations against Cdre Cooke-Priest have not been properly investigated.’
Cdre Cooke-Priest has been ‘reassigned’ to another role in the Royal Navy, a move which would have required the approval of the First Sea Lord – Admiral Sir Philip Jones.
Portsmouth North MP and Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has said that she won’t intervene in the decision.
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.
The Royal Navy has yet to announce who will replace Cdre Cooke-Priest as HMS Queen Elizabeth’s CO going forward.