Fears after BAE chief executive says decision will be made on future of shipyard by Christmas

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Up to 1,500 jobs are at risk as BAE Systems looks to close one of its three shipyards.

And industry insiders say because Portsmouth has more temporary staff it is more likely to be at risk than Govan and Scotstoun, on the river Clyde.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, chief executive Nigel Whitehead said they were looking at a ‘reduction in footprint’, adding, ‘Part of that might actually be the cessation of manufacturing at one of the sites.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said closure would be an ‘absolute disaster’ for the city but he was not hopeful for the shipyard’s survival.

‘I don’t think we’ve got much chance unless some work comes in,’ he said.

There have been doubts over the shipyard’s future for some time, with a gap in the British programme expected once the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers are completed but before the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme begins.

Earlier this year the company appointed consultants to carry out a review of the business.