CITY leaders have called on the government to name one of the Royal Navy’s new hi-tech frigates HMS Portsmouth.
Portsmouth City Council boss Councillor Donna Jones issued the demand to defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, calling on him to name one of the eight Type 26 frigates after the city.
Cllr Jones wrote: ‘The original HMS Portsmouth (1650), a 38-gun fourth-rate frigate, was destroyed in action in 1689.
‘It would be fantastic to see the name HMS Portsmouth return to the Royal Navy’s front line as a major warship. Not only would it reinforce the city’s naval heritage but it would highlight the significance of the city’s continuing role in keeping the country safe by protecting our nuclear deterrent and new aircraft carriers.’
Two of the eight City-class ships have already been named HMS Glasgow and HMS Belfast.
Cllr Jones’s plea comes amid an on-going campaign, backed by The News, to base all the Type 26 and Type 31e frigates in the city.
But yesterday a fresh blow was dealt to this bid when union bosses in Devon urged the government snub Portsmouth and base the new frigates in Plymouth.
The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions says both the next generation vessels needed to be based in Devonport to preserve the long-term future of the naval base.
Currently the fleet of 13 Type 23 frigates is split between Portsmouth and Plymouth, with six based here and seven in Devonport.
The CSEU, which is made up of members from GMB and Unite unions, says the arrival of the navy’s new aircraft carriers has secured Portsmouth’s future for 50 years and that Devonport, which is rumoured to lose HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark and HMS Scott in the coming years, is in greater need of the frigates.
Matthew Roberts, south west chair of the CSEU said not having the majority or all of the ships at Devonport could lead to a major reduction of work in the city. He added there was ‘good cause’ for the warships to be based there and that its facilities were ready.
He said: ‘Put simply, Devonport is the biggest and the best.’