Former First Sea Lord: Portsmouth shipyard closure is ‘madness’

Admiral Lord Alan West
Admiral Lord Alan West
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The decision to close Portsmouth’s shipyard is ‘madness’, says former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord Alan West.

His comments came after today’s announcement of 940 job losses at the Portsmouth yard.

Lord West criticised the decision to shut the shipbuilding operation before the results of next year’s referendum on Scottish independence.

He told The News: ‘It shows a complete lack of strategic vision.

‘For this decision to be made just before the referendum next year seems to be extraordinary.

‘If the referendum goes the wrong way then we will have to have the ability to build ships in England.

‘It seems madness to close the yard because we would then have to open it again.

‘To do this now seems very foolhardy. As a country we are paying BAE Systems to keep it open, they ought to keep it open.’

Lord West added it’s devastating for those who will lose their jobs.

‘It’s desperately sad,’ he said.

‘The yard is very good and very efficient. We build ships a lot cheaper than they do in a hell of a lot of other countries.

‘We have had shipbuilding there for 600 years and to lose it I think is very bad.’