Calls for Portsmouth council bosses to write to PM over shipbuidling deal collapse

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CITY council bosses will be called on to write to prime minister David Cameron urging him to outline his plan to bring shipbuilding back to Portsmouth.

It comes weeks after the deal to move composite giant Magma Structures into the naval base’s shiphall collapsed – prompting claims the PM had broken his shipbuilding pledge made to the city two years ago.

At next week’s full council meeting, councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson will call on the leaders from all political parties to unite and write to Mr Cameron to express the ‘city’s disappointment’ at the situation.

Speaking to The News, the Lib Dem leader said: ‘The prime minster promised us shipbuilding and new jobs – well none of these have happened.

‘It’s a council’s duty when things like this happen to speak on behalf of the city, so I hope that we can speak with one voice to the prime minster and say “Look, this isn’t good enough”.’

Yesterday the minister for Portsmouth Mark Francois said the government would do its best to bring shipbuilding back to the city.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson welcomed this news – albeit cautiously.

‘If he is able to get some concrete proposal and some real jobs I will be cheering from the rooftops,’ he said.

‘But so far the track record on these promises hasn’t been good.

‘My fear would be that there’s an election coming up and that this is – yet again – something happening with ministers coming to the city to give people hope but when the election passes and reality kicks in, it will all amount to nothing.’

The council meeting is on Tuesday from 2pm at the Guildhall.