Anyone heard anything on this little bombshell
Conservatives have sounded the alert after the Government sneaked out plans to axe some of Britain's largest naval bases.
Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox warned that one the Royal Navy's main bases at Portsmouth or Plymouth could be closed down in a programme of "radical reductions" being masterminded by Labour ministers who have already slashed back the number of warships in the fleet.
After Defence Secretary Des Browne slipped out his scheme to review UK naval bases in an obscure written statement - hoping to hide the news by coinciding the announcement with a briefing on his first major speech - Dr Fox questioned the Government's commitment to the Royal Navy.
He said: "This news will cause great concern in Portsmouth and Devonport in Plymouth, one of which the Government looks set to close. The fates of RNAS Yeovilton and RNAS Culdrose now also hang in the balance."
Dr Fox declared: "This Government has slashed the number of frigates and destroyers from 35 to 25 and the number of attack submarines from 12 to 8. At a time when expeditionary operations around the world are at an all time high, there is no logic in shrinking our naval capacity.
"The Government's commitment to the Royal Navy must now be seriously in question," he said.
In his statement, Mr Browne signalled that funding was behind the drive to reduce the "expensive" network of naval bases in Britain. He said: "The Naval Bases exist to support the Royal Navy's Front Line. They are complex and expensive organisations. We need to ensure that their capacity is no more and no less than we need to support the needs of the Fleet now and in the years to come.
"I wish to announce therefore our intention to conduct an in-depth review of Naval Base infrastructure requirements. The aim of the review is to ensure that we have the right Naval Base Infrastructure to meet the needs of the future Fleet. The review will assess future requirements and examine a range of options, including some that could lead to radical reductions in overheads and Naval Base capacity."