Politicians must heed warning from 
head of navy

COMMENT: Ask for ID - it’s better to be safe than sorry

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When the likes of the First Sea Lord goes public on the future of the Royal Navy, politicians really ought to pay attention.

There might have been those who thought the Senior Service was crying wolf when the range and depth of the cuts were first revealed.

But the constant squeals of well-reasoned argument from the likes of senior officers in both the army and the navy, defence experts and The News have never subsided.

Why? Because the extent of the outrageous axe-wielding went far too far.

So it is uplifting to read our report on page 12 today in which the head of the navy, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, warns of the dire consequences of emasculating the Royal Navy.

He chose the right platform – a speech to an audience which included naval personnel and, crucially, defence ministers.

He spelled it out to them, saying if the navy was to remain a respected fighting force around the world, it needs to keep a mixture of warships, submarines, fighter jets, Royal Marines vessels and surveillance aircraft at ‘a sensible and credible level of scale’.

And, no doubt to resounding cheers in mess decks everywhere, he added: ‘Make the Royal Navy un-credible and we cease to be a first division player.

‘Our responsibility to the navy we command and lead, our responsibility to defence and our responsibility to the nation we serve, is to fight to deliver a credible navy.’

And he went on to argue what we have said all along – that both the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers currently under construction should be brought into service.

Under current ridiculous plans, one vessel could be built, then immediately mothballed and left sitting in Portsmouth Harbour prior to being sold without ever having sailed from her home city in anger.

Adml Zambellas’s words must be music to the ears of all Royal Navy personnel, past, present and, most importantly, future.

The navy has taken more than its fair share of cuts. Now is the right time for it to start fighting back.