Falkland Islands are British! UK sends warning to Argentina as Navy warship sent to region

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has delivered a message of defiance to the new Argentinian president after he promised to "get the Falklands back".

By Christian Calgie, Senior Political Correspondent

James Cleverly announces trip to the Falkland Islands

The Royal Navy has announced a patrol ship will return to the Falklands, after a 105-day break defending Gibraltar.

The announcement comes after the UK Government issued a warning to the new Argentinian President, who told voters prior to his election yesterday that he wants to “get the Falklands back”.

This morning Defence Secretary Grant Shapps defiantly said: “The Falkland Islands are British.

“That is non-negotiable and undeniable.”

Mr Shapps reminded the Argentine Government that 99.9 percent of islanders voted to remain British in a 2013 referendum, with only three residents voting against the proposal to retain their status as a UK overseas territory.

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Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street

Mr Shapps issued a renewed warning to Argentina this morning (Image: Getty)

Mr Shapps affixed a Royal Navy press release to his warning shot, which confirmed last night that the Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Forth is returning to the islands after a nine-month break.

Forth, a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, had been overseeing the islands since 2020, before being redirected to defend Gibraltar earlier this year.

The Royal Navy says its mission will be focused on providing “reassurance to and support for the island community”.

The Navy will visit hamlets, settlements and individual farms on the islands, as well as conducting joint training with the RAF, army and authorities.

It will also focus on “general maritime security”.

HMS Forth will return to the Falkands after a nine month break

HMS Forth will return to the Falkands after a nine month break (Image: Royal Navy)
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The warning to Argentina comes after the election of its new right wing President, Javier Milei, yesterday.

During his campaign, the self-described anarcho-capitalist said: “We have to see how we are going to get them back.”

While the new President has promised diplomatic negotiations to take the British territory, rather than an invasion, No. 10 have firmly slapped down the demands.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told journalists yesterday: “This is a long-settled issue and there are no plans to revisit it.

“The position of the Falkland Islands was settled some time ago, and will not be changed.”

While Mr Milei described Margaret Thatcher as one of the “great leaders in the history of humanity”, he also claimed Argentinian rights over the Falkland Islands are “non-negotiable”.

He said: “We had a war – that we lost – and now we have to make every effort to recover them through diplomatic channels.”

HMS Forth will take over patrolling the islands from HMS Medway, which will now return to the Caribbean.

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