MoD in talks with new company to occupy Portsmouth shipyard reveals city minister

Minister for Portsmouth Mark Francois at The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity at HMS Excellent on Whale Island in Portsmouth 

Picture: Sarah Standing (160651-5639)
Minister for Portsmouth Mark Francois at The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity at HMS Excellent on Whale Island in Portsmouth Picture: Sarah Standing (160651-5639)
Hayling Island Lions member Rod Elliott outside Tesco, Station Road, Hayling Island

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THE Ministry of Defence is locked in negotiations with a company to occupy part of Portsmouth’s shipyard, insists the Minister for Portsmouth.

Mark Francois says work being done by the government to try and bring another company to use the facility is not simply talk and that real progress is being made.

But the minister, who attended a summit on the future of shipbuilding with Portsmouth’s MPs, said he understands why there’s concern.

Speaking to The News, Mr Francois said: ‘I can understand people’s frustration that we weren’t able to bring the Magma deal to fruition.

‘We really tried very hard there, but unfortunately because of the gas and oil price, that affected the company pretty badly.

‘But, the MoD is in talks with an alternative tenant for the second half of the shiphall – as BAE Systems occupies the other part – and I am doing all I can to push the MoD to bring this to a conclusion.

‘I can’t really go into any details because it’s commercially sensitive.’