Falklands news: Plot to use SNP independence bid to ‘weaken UK and grab power’ exposed | World | News
And they also questioned whether an independent Scotland would offer any protection to Falkland Islanders in the event of a future Argentinian invasion. It came following an IpsosMORI survey, published earlier this month, which suggested 58 percent of Scots currently back independence, compared with 42 percent who are opposed to the idea.
The results were seized upon by the Agenda Malvinas website, which is dedicated to pushing the South American country’s claim over the remote archipelago in the south Atlantic.
A source familiar with the matter told Express.co.uk the website’s decision to publish the findings of the poll, based on interviews with 1,045 adults between October 2 and 9, was politically motivated.
The insider said: “Argentine nationalists hope that the breakup of the UK would so weaken what was left of Britain that it would be relatively easy for Argentina to get control of the Falklands.”
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Alberto Fernandez, Argentina’s President, addresses the UN general assembly
They added: “The Falklands bear the name of a town in Scotland, the Scots Guards fought valiantly liberating the Islands in 1982, and many Islanders are of Scottish descent.
“But the SNP disregards the effect Scottish independence would have on Britain’s ability to defend the Islands both diplomatically and militarily.”
The source added: “The SNP supports self-determination for the Falklands and, in effect, for Scotland too – but the two are very different.
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Andrew Rosindell MP
“And I can’t imagine an independent Scotland contributing to the cost of the garrison, or being able to contribute much in the way of ships, planes, or ground forces in the event of another Argentine attack.”
Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982, which prompted then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to send a task force to liberate them.
After a short but bloody war which cost the lives of almost 1,000 people, Argentina was defeated.
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IpsosMORI’s recent poll
Argentina’s footballers hold up a banner in 2014
However, it has never renounced its claim on the islands, which it refers to as the Malvinas.
President Alberto Fernandez has stepped up his sovereignty push in recent months, and even took the opportunity to raise the issue during his address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, a decision described as “tedious” by Andrew Rosindell MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories
Speaking earlier this month, former First Sea Lord Baron West of Spithead told Express.co.uk the UK could not afford to take any chances when it came to Falklands, even today, citing the build-up to the crisis of 38 years ago.
He explained: “There is no doubt – and we know this from the intelligence post-war – that the decision that was made to pay off the patrol ship HMS Endurance, which was the only presence that we had down in the South Atlantic, was an indicator which Galtieri thought and Argentina thought showed the UK was not taking the situation seriously.
“That was the final thing which made them think ‘Let’s go for it and capture it because they are not going to be bothered to try and get it back’.
“So that was one of the key things which led to the invasion, and that’s accepted now.
The Falkland Islands are 400 miles off the east coast of Argentina
“The lesson that was learned from the Falklands is that if you cut your defence forces they think there is an opportunity.
“I don’t think the Argentinians are going to launch an attack on the Falklands.
“But if we lower our guard, if we removed our forces from the Falklands, I think it is quite a possibility that at some stage an Argentinian government would come into power that thought ‘well hang on a minute, let’s have another bash at this’.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the SNP for comment.