Portsmouth MP criticises Southampton’s ‘short-sighted’ approach over Sir Ben Ainslie ‘government bribe’ row

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond
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PORTSMOUTH South MP Flick Drummond has criticised Southampton for being ‘short-sighted’ over its attack on Sir Ben Ainslie’s move to the city.

Southampton council leader Simon Letts accused ministers for bribing the Olympian into building his America’s Cup base in Portsmouth to show they ‘still cared’ about the city.

But Mrs Drummond said leaders need to realise the presence of Sir Ben’s team in Hampshire is having a huge positive impact on the wider Solent region.

Speaking to The News, Mrs Drummond said: ‘I know Ben Ainslie really wanted to come to us because of the open water access, and if he and his team had gone further along, there would be shipping lanes they would have had to deal with. Whereas in Portsmouth, we have got the open water.

‘It’s disappointing Southampton has taken this view. I know Southampton has a lot of other assets down there. We should be looking at the whole area, not each individual city in particular.

‘We need to boost the whole of the Solent area; I am concerning myself with the Solent.

‘I think it’s short-sighted. Southampton needs to be working for the whole region.’