Margaret Thatcher’s ex-aide scolds ‘spineless and cowardly’ surrender of key military base

Margaret Thatcher’s ex-aide scolds ‘spineless and cowardly’ surrender of key military base

Margaret Thatcher's ex-aide hits out at the decision to surrender a key military base

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 02/10/2023

- 21:39

The move has sparked concern among key figures

Margaret Thatcher’s former aide has hit out at the “spineless and cowardly” Foreign Office as they look set to yield a key military base.

The Chagos Islands look set to be handed to Mauritius in a move that has sparked concern among figures such as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The archipelago includes Diego Garcia, an Anglo-American military base that has been branded ‘the unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean’.

Speaking on GB News, Thatcher’s ex-aide, Nile Gardiner, hit out at the move, saying it shows a sense of cowardice from the British Government.

Nile Gardiner

Margaret Thatcher would have been 'appalled' by the cessation of the Chagos Islands, says her ex-aide


“Margaret Thatcher would have been appalled”, he said.

“This is absolutely outrageous and Boris Johnson was right to condemn this.

“It is a spineless and cowardly move. It is not in the British national interest and it fundamentally undermines British security, but also the US-UK special relationship, we are talking about the Diego Garcia base.”

Gardiner issued a warning about who the island is being handed to, with Mauritius being an ally for China.

Speaking to Jacob Rees-Mogg, he called for the decision to be reversed.

He said: “This decision makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and it needs to be reversed.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has criticised the move to cease control of the Chagos Islands


“The British national security needs to be put at the forefront. I do not know why the British Government is going along with this ridiculous ruling from an international court.

“Britain should not be subject to the ruling of foreign courts.”

The move to hand over the territory came after the UK’s administration was deemed “unlawful” by the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice.

They ruled that Britain must cease its two centuries of control.

Boris Johnson hit out at the move, telling the Daily Mail that it will “cast doubt on a major western strategic asset”.

The Foreign Office have moved to allay fears that this will be the case, arguing that it will continue to be operated by the allies.

A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “The UK and Mauritius have held five rounds of constructive negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory/Chagos Archipelago, and officials will meet again soon to continue negotiations.

“The UK and Mauritius have reiterated that any agreement between our two countries will ensure the continued effective operation of the joint UK-US military base on Diego Garcia, which plays a vital role in regional and global security.”

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