Lord Nelson's flagship HMS Victory could be put in hands of private company

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The MoD said the 18th century warship could be too expensive to maintain and that her funding was currently under review.

This could see her looked after and run by a private firm or a charity to save cash, options which critics said would be a "tragedy".

The MoD said that increasing budgetary pressures meant it must review Victory's future like any other ship but insisted it would remain part of the Royal Navy.

But a former Commanding Officer of Victory and ex-First Sea Lord said handing the oldest commissioned warship in the world to a private company would "turn it into Disneyland" and make a mockery of Britain's naval heritage.

Victory, which was built between 1759 and 1765 and is best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar, sits in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Hants.

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