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Falkland Islands: Warships

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with (a) the government of the Falkland Islands and (b) others on the withdrawal of HMS Northumberland from the Falkland Islands; what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in the Falkland Islands; how many troops are stationed in the Falkland Islands; and what plans he has for the redeployment of HMS Northumberland. (242816)

The Falkland Islands Government was briefed over the decision to deploy HMS Northumberland on an EU anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa and deploy RFA Largs Bay to the South Atlantic. Consultations also took place between my Department and the FCO.

HMS Northumberland is one constituent part only of a comprehensive package of air, land and maritime assets that together maintain our deterrence posture on the Islands. This deterrence force is kept under regular review and can be reinforced quickly should the need arise. In November 2008, there were some 1,300 members of the armed forces based in the Falkland Islands. This figure varies during the year due to individual posting plots and unit moves.

While it is UK Government policy not to comment in detail on the current threat to the Falkland Islands or the future disposition of UK forces, the UK Government remain fully committed to the defence of the South Atlantic Overseas Territories, including the Falkland Islands.