PORTSMOUTH’S MPs have stepped up the fight to keep shipbuilding in the city.
As reported in The News, business secretary Vince Cable said a proposed £150m plan to get work for the naval base’s shipbuilders was not ‘a runner’.
The plan was for two new patrol ships to be built in the two-year hiatus between the aircraft carriers being completed in 2014 and the start of the Type 26 Destroyers in 2016.
The plan is designed to keep shipbuilding in Portsmouth, rather than risk BAE Systems closing its shipbuilding operations and moving them to Scotland.
But while Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt take the fight to the next level, it appears the city might have an ally in David Cameron.
Mr Hancock said: ‘What I’ve done is written a very lengthy letter to Mr Cable about this whole issue, which I will be publishing this week.
‘But I have to say I’m not surprised at his comments, as I understand that David Cameron, the treasury, and the MoD met about this project last week.
‘What I’m told is Cable was asked if he would pay for it, and he said there simply wasn’t the money.
‘I’m told the only person who pushed the idea forward was Cameron.’
The Prime Minister’s Office could not say whether Mr Cameron would be supporting the scheme.
Meanwhile, Ms Mordaunt has said she will organise a meeting of all MPs in the region.
She said: ‘There are MPs from as far afield as Southampton whose constituents would be affected by the closure of shipbuilding in the dockyard, so I will be arranging for us to discuss this.
‘I’m also waiting to hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer about a meeting I requested with him before November 20.
‘I want to take to him about how we get more investment into Portsmouth.
‘If shipbuilding were to go, he’d have to do something pretty spectacular.’