We could not defend Falklands alone, says Admiral

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The Prime Minister has vowed Britain's defence cuts will not place the Falkland Islands at risk.

Fears have been expressed that the Falklands is open to attack from Argentina after the government made deep cuts to the Royal Navy, including the decision to decommission HMS Ark Royal, Harrier jump jets and other ships key to protecting the South Atlantic.

But in his Christmas message to islanders, David Cameron attempted to reassure them that Britain remains strongly behind them.

He said: 'We will stand resolutely beside you on any question of sovereignty. We have no doubts whatsoever about the United Kingdom's sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.'

But Admiral Lord Alan West, head of the navy from 2002 to 2006 and a veteran of the Falklands war in 1982, questioned how Britain would be able to make a stand in the Falklands again without the help of other nations.

He said: 'I would now consider it impossible for us to do it.

'In terms of impact capability, the fact is we're losing HMS Ark Royal and we will lose Illustrious after that. Adding to that we're losing four Type 22 frigates and support vessels.

'We were a navy which was a key player in the world able to command groups of nations.

'Now we will have to give way to nations like France and Italy to do it.'