22:48 GMT26 January 2020
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    Budget reductions lay open deep problems in the UK defense, especially within the Royal Navy, and the defense procurement department should bear responsibility for that, the defense spokesman for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the UKIP member, there were rumors about the lack of personnel and reports about delays for new aircraft carriers.

    "Shocking gaps in the UK defence capacity are emerging as a result of continued cuts… Having to utilise French ships because we have none of our own is inexcusable. Reports are now coming out that our new aircraft carriers could face further delays," Bill Etheridge said, as quoted on the UKIP website.

    Etheridge said that having to use French ships in the absence of British ones was "inexcusable" and added that "heads should roll in defence procurement."

    According to the UKIP statement, Etheridge made his remarks just as the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) Canberra class landing helicopter dock ship Adelaide finished an exercise near Perth. The statement highlighted the RAN's growth, which stood in stark contrast to the Royal Navy that would have to use French-made helicopter carrier Mistral for a similar drill in May.

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    UK Independence Party (UKIP), Bill Etheridge, United Kingdom
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