THE UK is ready to help its allies “if the balloon goes up” over Iran, the Defence Secretary has said. In her first outing at the despatch box in the post, Penny Mordaunt was asked the question by Tory MP Philip Hollobone.

She replied: “Yes, we are, and we are already deployed in the region. This is a region where we have a huge stake and a huge amount invested and we are working with our allies and partners to firstly try to de-escalate things in the region but also to truly understand the facts behind recent events.”

Hollobone earlier asked if the Government would “support and deploy” in conjunction with the US to deter Iranian military action against the UK’s allies. Mordaunt said: “The United Kingdom shares the United States’, European and Gulf partners’ concerns about Iran’s destabilising activities. We continue to work closely with our allies and partners to mitigate the threats to regional security.”