Prime Minister Gordon Brown has insisted that the Falkland Islands remain 'fully secure' in the face of increased Argentine belligerence, as he announced an increase in the security forces posted to the South Atlantic.
The PM was responding to news that The Argentinian government has issued a decree that tightens control over shipping in the area ahead of British efforts to start oil and gas exploration off the islands' waters.
The PM said, "it is right that we find a negotiated, diplomatic settlement to this territorial dispute with Argentina, however this will take time as the Foreign Secretary is tied up with a dispute over banana distribution rights. And while I, as the Saviour of Britain, would be happy to send a Task Force, we haven't got any airworthy aircraft, we can't afford the fuel for any destroyers and we can't send more soldiers because the Americans say that we're not allowed to have our own war while we're fighting theirs for them. Therefore, it is right that we boost security and deter acts of agression in our territorial waters.
"I am therefore announcing that my Government will invest eleventy-billion pounds of borrowings into additional layered security for the Falkland Islands. This is to take the form of up to twenty specially-provided Police Community Support Officers, empowered to enforce Fixed-Penalty Notices to any invading force. These Officers will be backed-up by naval protection vessels transferred from the Gibraltar Fleet - specifically, five pedalos crewed by RN Reservists armed with the very latest paintball guns. The people of the Falklands can sleep safe in their beds, knowing that Labour are protecting them."
The PM added that he expected the long-term costs of defending the Falklands to be met by the Island's economy, and that he had asked the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, to investigate a windfall tax on sheep to this effect.
Ministry of Defence officials confirmed the transfer of fleet vessels to the South Atlantic, and added that they would also be providing air support to the Falklands just as soon as they could borrow the Sopwith Camel from the Imperial War Museum.
Rumours that the Government are planning to capitulate to Argentinian territorial demands were hotly denied. A senior cabinet source said that to hand the Islands, which saw the deaths of 255 British servicemen in 1982, was 'unthinkable, at least until we've sorted out a big-enough offer for the oil rights'.