Boris Johnson called to revive hopes for mega dry dock for Royal Navy aircraft carriers in Portsmouth
BORIS Johnson is facing ‘urgent’ calls to revive a bid to build a mega dry dock capable of housing Britain’s two new aircraft carriers in Portsmouth.
The plea comes almost a year after The News revealed the Royal Navy was looking into ambitious plans to build such a facility in the naval base.
Excited city leaders previously claimed the project could create up to 100 jobs and bring £1bn to Portsmouth over the next decade.
However, talk of the overhaul has stagnated, with the Ministry of Defence saying it has ‘no current plans’ for a dry dock for the carriers.
Now Labour’s shadow defence procurement minister, Stephen Morgan, has demanded the prime minister steps in.
In a letter to the PM – seen by The News – the Portsmouth South MP asked for an ‘urgent reply’ and said: ‘I am today writing to reiterate the reasons for building a dry dock facility in Portsmouth and kindly request that an urgent response is drafted to my request.
‘Locating a dry dock facility in Portsmouth makes strategic sense due to the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers being located there, and the city already being established as the heart and home of the Royal Navy.
‘The economic benefits it would bring to the city have the potential to be transformative and would give a much-needed fiscal boost to Portsmouth.’
Under proposals considered last year, Portsmouth Naval Base’s Number 2 Basin could have been converted into a new super dry dock.
Speaking at the time, a spokeswoman for the Royal Navy confirmed they were looking at a dry dock proposal but said it was ‘far too early to have any indication of the results’.
But last night a navy spokeswoman said: ‘The Ministry of Defence has no current plans to construct a dry-dock facility for the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
‘Plans for a long-term in-service support solution for the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers are under consideration as part of the common support model for complex warships.’
The MoD added routine repair and refitting of the two £3.1bn supercarriers, that didn’t require a dry dock, would still take place at Portsmouth Naval Base.