The (new) Westland affair. Westland, the name at the heart of the Conservative party's 1986 crisis when Michael Heseltine quit the government after his row with Margaret Thatcher over the helicopter maker's future, has risen again at Whitehall to haunt Gordon Brown. Whitehall insiders say that the threat to a vital helicopter order for the Yeovil company, now called Augusta Westland, is behind the spate of reports that the chiefs of staff are on the warpath over defence cuts. Brown is said to have ordered a fundamental reappraisal of the defence procurement budget in an effort to meet the immediate cost of fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This means that the Â£1bn order for 70 'future Lynx' helicopters from Yeovil - placed by Paul Drayson before he quit as defence procurement minister last November - could be in jeopardy. Defence chiefs believe new helicopters are crucial to the needs of the British military. They say they are far more imporant than two expensive aircraft carriers, priced at Â£3.9bn and rising, which Tory defence sources say Gordon Brown only wants to go ahead with because he wishes to protect jobs in the shipyards in Rosyth, next door to his own constituency. But choppers are the workhorses of frontline troops. British forces in Afghanistan are so short of them that appeals for help in supplying more have gone out to Nato allies across Europe. The brass hats have warned Brown that he cannot keep running the armed services at 'hot' for much longer. They need more money for kit and manpower to ease the overstretch. Something has to give, and it should not be the helicopters. If anything has to be cut from the shopping list, they argue, it should be the two hulking carriers destined for a Navy with an uncertain future. The "Navy" an uncertain future, anyone agree?