Bill Etheridge MEP, UKIP Defence Spokesman, has revealed his disappointment in the lack of thought put into the scrapping of HMS Illustrious.
“Lusty” as she was known to her crew is en route to a Turkish scrapyard, where she will be broken up for scrap like her elder sister HMS Invincible before her. The light aircraft carrier, which served in the aftermath of the Falklands War, was sold for a derisory £2 million despite efforts to preserve her as a hotel of floating museum. It also leaves the UK without an aircraft carrier for some time. Its replacement, HMS Queen Elizabeth II is not due to carry out sea trials until the New Year and HMS Prince of Wales is still in construction. Aircraft for the vessels are expected to begin trials in 2018.
Mr Etheridge said “It seems rather poor planning that we scrap this famous carrier when its replacements are not yet complete. It is yet another example of successive governments not caring about our naval power.
“I am also extremely saddened that an alternative use could not have been found for this famous ship and I question whether the authorities properly explored the other options.”