‘Bahrain trouble has no impact’

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

Defence secretary refuses Treasury demands for military cuts

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THE Royal Navy’s operations in Bahrain have not been affected as a result of the political unrest in the country, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday.

Bahrain is the headquarters for the UK’s mine counter measures ships (UKMCC) and two Portsmouth vessels – HMS Middleton and HMS Chiddingfold – are based there at the moment. Portsmouth frigate HMS Iron Duke is understood to be nearby in the Gulf of Oman.

Despite violence in the capital city Manama in the wake of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, an MoD spokesman said: ‘At the moment there has been any impact on the UKMCC and its operations.’

The army in Bahrain reportedly shot protesters with live rounds yesterday, wounding and killing people as it tries to crush the uprising. Reports said Bahraini security forces were firing arms bought from Britain but Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was ‘no evidence’ this was the case. The government later announced it was ‘formally reviewing recent licensing decisions for exports to Bahrain’.