Former first sea lord hits out at Falklands policy

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THE government’s strategy to defend the Falkland Islands has been criticised by a former head of the Royal Navy who commanded a ship that was sunk when Britain retook them.

Admiral Lord West of Spithead, who was the last man off HMS Ardent when it went down in May 1982, said the overall approach had ‘not been cleverly put together’.

His comments came as former chief of the defence staff Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce called for the government to invest in more ships to enable the navy to send vessels more often to the Falklands.

The two former service chiefs spoke out after defence secretary Michael Fallon said Britain would deploy two RAF Chinook transport helicopters to help bolster the defence of the islands amid renewed fears of a fresh Argentine invasion.

Mr Fallon also confirmed the government’s commitment to maintaining a Falkland Islands 
patrol vessel, currently HMS Clyde.

Labour peer Lord West, a former first sea lord and security minister, said in the House of Lords: ‘I’m very glad that we are showing a commitment to defending those islands.

‘The Argentine behaviour is consistently extremely bad.’