JEREMY Corbyn would be a disaster for Portsmouth and bring the city’s defence industry to its knees.
That’s the damning view of leading party members in the city about the favourite to become Labour leader.
But Mr Corbyn has denied that he would damage the city’s economy and said shipbuilding should have a place in Portsmouth’s future.
The Islington North MP has won over a large proportion of left-wing voters and stirred up ‘Corbynmania’ ever since entering the leadership race.
Critics have concerns about the impact the 66-year-old politician would have on the city should he ever become prime minister. It comes after Mr Corbyn staged a rally at the Ageas Bowl in West End last night for Labour supporters.
Would the Royal Navy be safe in Jeremy Corbyn’s hands?
Portsmouth Labour group leader, Councillor John Ferrett said Mr Corbyn’s commitment to slash defence spending is a massive concern.
From a Portsmouth perspective, Corbyn would be a disasterJohn Ferrett
And Cllr Ferrett said the Islington North MP’s values hark back to the Labour Party’s 1983 left-wing manifesto – dubbed the ‘longest suicide note in history’.
He said: ‘From a Portsmouth perspective, Corbyn would be a disaster, particularly given the emphasis in Portsmouth on defence.
‘His policies are to get rid of Trident and get rid of defence spending.
‘He has also spoken out about withdrawing from Nato, which would limit our defence capability. Mr Corbyn may well represent old Labour values, but these old values made the Labour Party unelectable in the 1980s, and we have to deal with the world as it is.’
Cllr Ferrett added Ukip leader Nigel Farage had wider appeal than Mr Corbyn.
Retired Lieutenant Commander Mike Critchley said: ‘If Mr Corbyn became the prime minister, and wasn’t just the leader of the opposition, I think people in Portsmouth would be extremely worried. He is coming up with some pretty radical views on defence, and whether he implements all of these way-off views, time will tell.’
Former Portsmouth North Labour MP Syd Rapson said Mr Corbyn would not become a ‘dictator’ and his policies would need the support of his shadow cabinet. But Mr Rapson warned: ‘If his policies on defence are carried by the party, that would be a definite disaster.
POLITICIAN HITS BACK AT CLAIMS HE WOULD HURT PORTSMOUTH
LABOUR leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn has denied Portsmouth would suffer under his leadership and said he wanted shipbuilding to have a future in the city.
Speaking to The News, Mr Corbyn said: ‘Shipbuilding is not likely to come back in the sense of the mega-vessels but there is a big market for medium-sized vessels and I would want and expect Portsmouth to do that. Our proposal is to set up a national investment bank which would help to provide the necessary funding for investment in not just infrastructure but also, in partnership with small and medium-sized enterprise, to develop our manufacturing skill base in this country.’
Corbyn said the Royal Navy would be safe in his hands although he called for an eventual reduction in defence spending. He said: ‘At the moment Nato is requiring two per cent but Britain is one of the few countries that maintains that.
‘I would personally want to see, in the longer run, a lower level of defence spending.
‘Does that mean it all stops? No, of course it doesn’t.’