Copeland MP Trudy Harrison has highlighted the area's role in national security to defence secretary Gavin Williamson.

Mr Williamson visited Calderwood House in Egremont to learn more about staff and residents' work supporting ex-military personnel, and UCLan at Westlakes Science and Technology Park where plans to recruit from the forces will be discussed.

The tour finished with a visit to the Ministry of Defence’s Eskmeals Range in Bootle, which specialises in the testing of large calibre ammunition systems with the ability to fire over long ranges.

Mr Williamson said: “I have had a really wonderful day in Copeland with Trudy and I am so pleased that I have had the opportunity to come and visit.

“It has been fantastic to see all that this constituency has to offer and I have very much enjoyed my tour of the area.

“I am so glad I have had the chance to hear about all the work that Trudy has done and continues to do for Copeland - she has worked tirelessly to stand up for local people and local businesses.”

Mrs Harrison added: “Defence is important to Copeland for the obvious reason of keeping us safe, we are also one of the largest recruitment areas for the armed forces.

"The world-beating research and development at Qinetiq is outstanding and the Continuous-At-Sea-Deterrent, built at BAE in Barrow is surely the most effective peacetime deterrent and a vital employer of the highest skilled workers.

"With the recent addition of BAE’s £25 million Academy, SASK is a critical training place for many of Copeland’s apprentices and graduates.

“Today I was also able to showcase the pioneering work of UCLan, which is tackling the long-standing challenge of recruitment at West Cumberland Hospital.

"The potential to also up-skill and train veterans is both commendable and sensible; after serving our nation, our veterans deserve our wholehearted support.

"Welcoming the armed forces community to Cumbria, ensuring their settled status whilst plugging our health and social care sector employment challenges is innovation at its best.

“Calderwood House is a fine example of pro-active people meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in our society.

"Homelessness could affect any one of us, and whilst the overwhelming majority of ex-service people settle into the community, ensuring support for those who need support is vital.”