Council opposition groups add to calls for U-turn on decision

ANGRY Donna Jones
ANGRY Donna Jones
Defence correspondent om Cotterill on the jet simulator

The News defence correspondent ‘lands’ jet on HMS Queen Elizabeth

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COUNCIL groups have been rallying their supporters in the fight against Portsmouth’s shipbuilding loss.

Portsmouth’s Labour Party has launched a petition against the closure decision.

Signatures are being gathered on the doorstep and the petition is also online at the Portsmouth Labour Party’s website.

Councillor John Ferrett, the leader of the Labour group on Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘This decision potentially leaves the UK with no sovereign shipbuilding capability.

‘It appears illogical to close the Portsmouth facility now, when the Scottish Independence Referendum is still a year away.

‘Were the people of Scotland to vote for independence, the closure would leave the UK with no yards capable of building complex warships.

‘Portsmouth Naval Base will be the home of the two new aircraft carriers and there will be demand for skilled labour when they come to the city in the second half of the decade.

‘It seems madness to lay off nearly a thousand skilled workers when their skills will be in demand in the near future.’

Meanwhile, Cllr Donna Jones, the Conservative leader in Portsmouth, has written to Philip Hammond asking him to reverse the decision.

She said: ‘I am writing to Philip Hammond to vent my anger about the decision.

‘Once we lose these skills, we won’t get them back again.

‘I know this is a very political decision, but the effects on the city are going to be large. My fear is that Portsmouth will just become a large town.

‘I am very concerned about the future economic growth of the city.’

Cllr Jones is also planning to put forward a motion to the council today, asking for councillors’ backing in the letter.