John Nott

John Nott was the Minister of Defence at the time of the Falklands. He actually played a large role in persuading the Argentines of the lack of priority held by Britain towards the islands. In his short time at the MoD he had instituted savage cuts on the military in general and the Royal Navy in particular. They were being asked to reduce the size of their surface fleet from 59 ships to 50. Even more worrying for the islanders was the fact that HMS Endurance was earmarked to be scrapped when it returned from its annual tour of the South Atlantic in 1982 and that it categorically would not be replaced. As the prime military commitment to the Falkland Islands, this was a devastating blow to the islanders and seemed to illustrate a lack of commitment to their defence. It was clarified that the Royal Marine detachment would continue to be deployed there but that was nowhere near as high a profile as HMS Endurance provided. Besides, without a ship to move them around, the Royal Marines' strategic abilities to deal with issues on South Georgia or even to West Falkland would have been severely compromised.

Nott offered his resignation to Margaret Thatcher after the Argentine invasion but unlike, Lord Carrington, he was persuaded to stay on for the duration of the conflict. He became famous throughout Britain for delivering press briefings in an when the media was tightly controlled. He delivered much of the significant news of the campaign, positive and negative. He stood down as Minister of Defence six months after the war and did not seek re-election in the 1983 election.

His autobiography was published as: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

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by Stephen Luscombe