New defence secretary Grant Shapps confuses RAF with Royal Navy

Rishi Sunak ally Grant Shapps was made defence secretary after Ben Wallace's resignation. Credit: PA

The new Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has been criticised for confusing the RAF with the Royal Navy in his second week in the job.

Speaking to LBC on Wednesday, the former energy secretary described the UK's aircraft carriers as being "the largest carriers the RAF has ever had".

But listeners were quick to remark that aircraft carriers are built and operated by the Royal Navy, not the Royal Air Force.

The blunder wasn't the only one made by Mr Shapps while he was doing the morning broadcast round for the Conservatives on Wednesday.

When questioned on Sky News if he knew how many ranks there are in the Army, Mr Shapps admitted: "Not off the top of my head".

He went on to defend his appointment to one of the most senior Cabinet roles, insisting he has a lot of experience running complex departments and large budgets.

Mr Shapps' new role is his fifth cabinet job in less than a year. He has been a senior minister on and off for a decade, including being transport secretary for three years.

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