The News Comment: It’s good to hear city minister vow to fight for Portsmouth

COMMENT: Whenever she arrives, we’ll give her a big welcome

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the minister for Portsmouth role is one that has had a chequered history.

When it was created in the wake of 900 jobs being lost at BAE, it was a much-needed boost showing the government was taking the problems of our city seriously.

But over the following months, Michael Fallon was moved on and the role went to Matt Hancock.

As time ticked on, questions began to be asked about the value of the role.

That came to a head when we ran a front page lead asking for a commitment from the latest incumbent, Mark Francois.

Today, we are pleased to say we are somewhat reassured.

In an exclusive chat with The News, Mr Francois voiced his dedication to the role and what he hoped to bring.

He told us: ‘I am going to do my best for the people of Portsmouth and I want to help them with the issues they face.

‘Part of my role is to make sure Portsmouth gets a fair crack of the whip.’

This sounds great, although he still needs to take some action over the issues we put to him last week about tackling transport, small businesses and the creative industries.

But this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Mr Francois is backing calls that were outlined in a letter to the government by city MP Penny Mordaunt.

So it’s so far, so good. Mr Francois says he wants to be an ‘extra batsman’ for Portsmouth.

And that’s exactly what we need. An extra body at Westminster putting the needs of Portsmouth first and making sure our great city gets the deal it deserves.

So thanks for visiting, Mr Francois.

We hope it’s the first of many and we look forward to welcoming you next time.