Britain’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has claimed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn poses a greater threat to the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands than the entire government of Argentina.
Speaking during his visit to the South Atlantic islands, Fallon accused Corbyn of seeking to override the wishes of the islanders.
It was the first time a UK Defence Secretary has visited the British terrority in over a decade.
Fallon told the BBC: “The biggest threat at the moment isn’t Argentina. Actually it is Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, who seem determined to override the wishes of the islanders.
“That’s the immediate threat because Labour are the principal opposition and will be presumably fighting the next election on that basis. He has said that the rights of the islanders can’t be [held] up.”
Corbyn recently said that the election of Mauricio Marci as Argentinian president offered a new opportunity for dialogue over the future of the islands which have been occupied by Britain for nearly two centuries.
Marci has claimed that the islands, which are known by Argentinians as Islas Malvinas, should be returned to Argentina.
Fallon however does share some common ground with the Labour leader on the issue of improving relations with Buenos Aries.
He told The Telegraph: “The issue is how we improve relationships with rest of South America and we have the election of a new government in Argentina that may open the door to that.”
Around 1,400 British service personnel remain on the islands which have been under British control since 1833.
An Argentine invasion in 1982 led then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to dispatch a naval task force to reclaim the islands, sparking a conflict which claimed close to 1,000 lives.
The Defence Secretary was in Port Stanley on Tuesday visiting a memorial obelisk in remembrance of the British servicemen killed in the conflict.
In a 2013 referendum the overwhelming majority of Falklanders voted to remain a British overseas territory.
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