Council leader under fire for not writing PM letter

Councillors Gerald Vernon-Jackson and John Ferrett have criticised council leader Donna Jones for failing to write to the prime minister
Councillors Gerald Vernon-Jackson and John Ferrett have criticised council leader Donna Jones for failing to write to the prime minister
Sir Vince Cable is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats

Sir Vince Cable is new Liberal Democrats leader

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has come under heavy criticism for failing to write to the prime minister about the future of shipbuilding.

At Tuesday’s full council meeting a motion was passed which asked Councillor Donna Jones to write to David Cameron by Friday (yesterday).

The letter would criticise Mr Cameron for so far failing to bring shipbuilding back to Portsmouth after BAE decided to move its operations to Scotland.

Cllr John Ferrett, leader of the Labour party, said: ‘It’s inexcusable for the letter not to have been written – this has been the most important issue for the city over the past 18 months.

‘The majority of the council – including one member of her own group – wanted this.

‘Donna herself abstained from voting against it so therefore she’s not completely against it and is showing some support.

‘But to not have written the letter is inexcusable as she had an instruction that she should have carried out.

‘She hasn’t given an adequate excuse. She has two members of staff that take care of letters and correspondence for her.

‘All that needed to be done was a dictation of the terms of motion and her signature.’

The motion had been backed by Ukip and the Lib Dems.

Party leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I’m not happy the letter hasn’t been written because it’s about securing jobs for Portsmouth.

‘Writing this letter is not difficult – but it is hugely important which is why I’m disappointed it hasn’t been done.

‘It’s really simple to do and would only take five minutes – Donna has had since Tuesday and that’s just not good enough.

‘This is an urgent matter.’

Cllr Jones said she will be writing the letter this week.

She said: ‘I have not yet written to Mr Cameron.

‘In the motion that was carried at the full council meeting, I was asked to write a letter by the end of this week.

‘I said straight up that it wasn’t going to be very likely because of the commitments I already had.

‘The meeting was on Tuesday, I was in Edinburgh on Thursday and had a full schedule of meetings.

‘It was a request that was made and I will be doing it next week.’

Last month, Mr Cameron said Magma Structures and BAE Systems would come and service minehunter vessels and build rigs for yachts and their work would involve shipbuilding.