MP blasts Argentine premier after speech sparks ugly scenes

TROUBLE A masked demonstrator sets fire to a Union Flag near the British embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina
TROUBLE A masked demonstrator sets fire to a Union Flag near the British embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina
HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Portsmouth for the first time to go on sea trials

Picture: Malcolm Wells (171030-0346)

Commanding officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth says jets on the carrier will be ‘final piece of the puzzle’

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PORTSMOUTH MP Penny Mordaunt has condemned the president of Argentina for a speech which sparked violent demonstrations in Buenos Aires on the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War.

Ms Mordaunt said comments made by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Monday were ‘irresponsible’ and detracted from commemorations to remember the 907 people who died in the bloody 74-day conflict in 1982.

Several hundred demonstrators pelted police officers with home-made fire-bombs and threw rocks and flaming bottles towards the British Embassy in the Argentinian capital as remembrance events were held in Argentina and the UK.

Television footage showed riot police using a water cannon to disperse protesters who had set fire to a Union Jack flag and an effigy of Prince William.

The ugly scenes came after the Argentinian president accused Britain of ‘colonialism’ in a rousing speech to veterans.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Kirchner’s actions have been absolutely appalling. She’s clearly doing it to whip up a frenzy as usual to distract from the domestic woes in her country at the moment as it suffers 22 per cent inflation.

‘It was incredibly irresponsible and it does a great disservice to the people she’s supposed to be serving.’

Argentina’s complaints –including to the United Nations – of ‘militarisation’ by the UK are likely to be heightened by today’s deployment of one of the Royal Navy’s most advanced warships to the South Atlantic.

Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless was due to sail from Portsmouth at 10am for her maiden operational voyage in what the MoD says is a ‘pre-planned and routine’ six-month deployment.

The state-of-the-art £1bn warship is replacing the ageing 20-year-old frigate HMS Montrose as the British ship on patrol in the South Atlantic.

She sails on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the historic moment when tens of thousands of people lined the seafront to wave goodbye to the Falklands Task Force as it left Portsmouth to reclaim the invaded islands.