Minister told scrapping Portsmouth’s shipbuilding would be ‘disastrous’

HOPE Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
HOPE Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
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SHIP building must remain in Portsmouth, business minister Vince Cable has been told.

Portsmouth City Council Leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson met Mr Cable during a visit of the naval base and the historic dockyard today.

Mr Cable discussed various issues with members and directors of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, which brings businesses and local authorities together to drive economic growth and create jobs.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson, an LEP director, pressed the case for ship-building to remain in the city when work on the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers is finished.

After the meeting he said: ‘I’m convinced that Portsmouth remains the most economic place for advanced warships to be built. ‘Bearing in mind the threat of independence for Scotland, ours is the only shipyard outside Scotland with the skills and capacity to build advanced warships.

‘There is the potential for independence for Scotland in 2014.

‘This would mean that England would be left with nowhere to build advanced warships for the Royal Navy, if Portsmouth’s shipbuilding capability had been shut down.

‘This would be strategically disastrous for the navy and the country.’

The media was not invited to interview Mr Cable at the dockyard, as it was deemed a ‘private visit’.