Pompey takeover is an inspiration for city’s shipyard

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THE minister for Portsmouth said the community takeover of Pompey shows the ‘resilience’ of the city.

Michael Fallon’s comments came at Fratton Park after he watched Pompey draw 0-0 to Cheltenham on Saturday.

SPECIAL GUEST Minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt

SPECIAL GUEST Minister for Portsmouth Michael Fallon and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt

The MP, appointed to the job by prime minister David Cameron, said the community-owned club showed what could be achieved.

‘There’s huge resilience in this city and I’m determined we should capitalise on it,’ he said.

‘All those groups involved in taking their projects forward are now ready and welcome to discuss with BAE exactly what they might be and how they can best use the shipyard.

‘We’re looking at all these projects. They range from energy projects to straightforward shipbuilding.

‘It’s a huge yard to fill and we need to be sure a project is commercially viable.’

As reported on Saturday, the Ministry of Defence has published a prospectus calling on businesses to put forward their proposals.

It comes after BAE announced in November that 940 jobs would be lost when it stops its shipbuilding work.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt was at the match with Mr Fallon and business leaders.

She said: ‘We’re very pleased he’s been able to come.

‘It’s a great place to bring people to do business to meet other people.

‘There’s lots of interest, it’s a big process to go through.

‘I’m optimistic we’re going to get a good, not just immediate, but a long-term solution.’

Ms Mordaunt praised the club, whose chairman Ian McInnes contacted her to offer help when BAE announced the closure in November.

Mr Fallon added: ‘I’ve been stunned by the level of support for the club.

‘To see 17,000 people here supporting the club really is quite extraordinary and bodes extremely well for the future.’