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Read more about this story: Britain's naval power will end up no greater than that of Belgium.
Mr Brown must give the Royal Navy another £1 billion or Britain's naval power will end up no greater than that of Belgium, a naval chief warned yesterday.
Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, the First Sea Lord, yesterday went public with his warning to the government amid growing fears for the navy. Several warships are effectively mothballed and navy insiders are increasingly worried that a shrinking defence budget might reduce capabilities still further.
Admiral Band added that, without the carriers and the extra spending, "we become Belgium". The Belgian navy has only 14 ships, including six minehunters named after flowers.
Julian Lewis, the shadow defence minister, said the admiral's comments were a damning indictment of Labour's support for the military.
"The fact that the First Sea Lord feels it necessary to speak out in this forthright way, confirms everything we have said about the destruction of the frontline strength of the fleet," Dr Lewis said. "The armed forces are overstretched as never before. Whilst Tony Blair increases commitments, Gordon Brown again refuses to provide the resources necessary."