Royal Navy cuts 'a national disgrace'

HMS Edinburgh, the last of the Royal Navy's Type 42 destroyers, was decommissioned in June 2013 Credit: Press Association Images

The Government's cuts to the Royal Navy's fleet have gone too far and are a 'national disgrace', a former head of the service has warned. Lord West of Spithead, a former first sea lord, said the coalition had not just cut to the bone but 'into the bone'.

The Labour peer insisted the UK had been left with too few ships to escort naval convoys and warned the possibility of Scottish independence poses the greatest security and defence threat to the UK.

Lord West said: 'A great maritime nation like us, where we still run global shipping from London and we're totally reliant on that, those sinews that keep the global village together, to have 19 escorts I think is a national disgrace actually. We really do need to think very, very hard about that.'

Lord West of Spithead was First Sea Lord from 2002 to 2006 Credit: Press Association Images