FRANCE should be called upon to back Britain if ever there is a repeat of the Falklands conflict, a Bolton MP has said.

And his comments have been backed by Jean Stroud-Mort, from Bromley Cross, who was widowed after her husband, John Stroud, was killed in the Falklands, aged 20.

The Royal Air Force is currently providing logistical support to France in its ground campaign against Muslim rebels in Mali.

But speaking in the House of Commons, Bolton North East MP David Crausby asked whether France would return the favour if Argentina ever invaded the Falkland Islands.

Argentina occupied the islands in 1982 until they were reclaimed by a British task force, but tensions in the South Atlantic have escalated recently with ships flying the Falklands flag being banned from some South American ports.

Argentinian president Cristina Kirchner recently wrote an open letter to the UK calling for the islands’ return.

Addressing Andrew Robathan, the minister of state for defence personnel, in parliament, Mr Crausby asked if he expected any support from the French in the event of an invasion, and whether he had discussed the matter with his European counterparts.

Mr Robathan replied that it was unlikely that Argentina would invade the Falklands because there was a clause in the country’s constitution that prohibited it.

He said: “I have not had any discussions with the French on this matter.”

Speaking after the debate Mr Crausby told The Bolton News: “The point I’m making is we are quick to help them but everybody knows they won’t help us in the Falkland Islands.

“Every time Argentina is in trouble it raises the issue of the Falkland Islands because it’s popular with the people.

“I don’t expect a conflict but we shouldn’t be complacent.

“The only way we can do that is by increasing defence spending — which is unlikely — or by having the support of our so-called allies like the French.”

Mrs Stroud-Mort said: “France didn’t support us during the Falklands War so I think David Crausby should raise the issue — I have a lot of respect for him.

“The Falkland Islands should be supported by the UN, not just by the UK on its own.”