Conservative back bench MPs were becoming increasingly confident the Falklands invasion would force a change in the government’s policy towards the Royal Navy.
The feeling had grown since a meeting of Conservatives which followed a rowdy emergency commons debate on the crisis.
Peter Viggers, the MP for Gosport, was among those who strongly expressed their views to defence secretary John Nott at a private meeting.
He said defence planning for years had concentrated on NATO, Europe and the nuclear deterrent, while neglecting the deterrent effect of a large navy, and he called for a postponement of the changes and run-down of sea forces announced a few days earlier.
Mr Nott reportedly disagreed with the claim.