Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock defends position

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THE minister for Portsmouth has defended his position as the city’s cabinet representative.

Matthew Hancock MP said yesterday that anyone opposed to the position is ‘against Portsmouth’s future’.

Matthew Hancock with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and assistant principal for Cemast Steve Dinsdale. Picture: Sarah Standing (143321-7879)

Matthew Hancock with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and assistant principal for Cemast Steve Dinsdale. Picture: Sarah Standing (143321-7879)

As previously reported in The News, critics including Portsmouth City Council’s Labour group leader Councillor John Ferrett have called for the position to be scrapped.

Last Tuesday, councillors voted for the city council’s chief executive to write to the prime minister about the position.

During his trip to Portsmouth yesterday, Mr Hancock said: ‘The people who are against having a minister for Portsmouth don’t have Portsmouth’s best interests at heart.

‘There is an election coming up and some parties are making a fuss but what I want to do is deliver for the future of Portsmouth.

‘What I want to do is deliver for Portsmouth.

‘Just the list of things that have been delivered over the last year since the minister for Portsmouth role was created demonstrates just how effective it can be having a minister right in the heart of government. If you are against that, you are against Portsmouth’s future.’

Asked about the position’s long-term future and whether it could continue to exist after next May’s general election, he said: ‘Given how successful the role has been in delivering for Portsmouth, I don’t see why not.’