A FALKLANDS veteran has welcomed the news that the islands’ residents have voted overwhelmingly to remain a British territory.
A referendum on the islands saw 99.8 per cent in favour – 1,513 out of 1,517 votes cast were to stay British.
Ex-chief petty officer Derek Kimber was on board HMS Coventry when she was sunk by the Argentinian air force during the Falklands’ War in 1982.
A former Gosport mayor, Cllr Kimber said he was delighted with the result. There was a 92 per cent turnout.
He added: ‘The people of the Falklands have decided they want to remain with us and to look after their own affairs, and that’s what they’ve always wanted to do.’
Argentina maintains that the Falkland Islands, which it calls Las Malvinas, should be under its sovereignty. The threat of Argentina attempting to take control of the islands by force means Britain has to keep a Royal Navy patrol ship, the Portsmouth-based HMS Clyde, on constant watch in the south Atlantic.
The Argentine government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made clear it does not recognise the referendum, insisting it has no legal validity.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the Argentinian government should ‘take careful note’ of the result.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who is in Scotland overseeing projects as part of her role on the defence select committee, said: ‘It’s a great result and should give the Falkland Islanders confidence for the future.
‘It won’t change Argentina’s stance but the rest of the world must recognise their right to self-determination.’
Meanwhile, Cllr Kimber and other veterans of HMS Coventry travelled to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to plant an oak tree in remembrance of the 19 who lost their lives when she sank.