17 February, 2007

First Sea Lord fires broadside at government.

Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, the First Sea Lord (head of the navy) has said that the Royal Navy needs £1 billion to sustain naval capabilities; otherwise Britain would be at risk of "turning into Belgium". The BBC and the Times have more.

Sir Jonathan's remarks follow criticisms of UK defence policy by senior army figures. As a reader comments on the Times site,

Will the Chief of the Air Staff now speak up, and have the government slammed by all 3 services?
In what is becoming one of the UK's major military traditions, having attacked the government, a senior military commander then goes on the MoD site to deny everything and does it without denying anything. Sir Jonathan played the game brilliantly. "Today’s Royal Navy is funded to do what is asked of it." In plain English that means: ministers ask if it can be done, their Lordships say no, so ministers do not ask the navy to do it.


Both the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail say that Admiral Band said he would resign if excessive cuts were forced upon the Royal Navy. Neither the BBC nor the Times reported such a threat in the Admiral's remarks, made at a lunch with defence journalists, so perhaps the DT and Mail were reporting off-the-record remarks.

Previously on Crumbling Spires:

Britannia used to rule the waves.

Britannia used to rule the waves 2.

Royal Navy scuttled.

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