'Give new frigates to Devonport' - Union says Portsmouth should be snubbed in warship bid

Designs for the new Type 26 frigates with Portsmouth and Plymouth both bidding to get the next class
Designs for the new Type 26 frigates with Portsmouth and Plymouth both bidding to get the next class
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A UNION is calling on the government to snub Portsmouth and base the next generation of frigates in Plymouth.

The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions says that the Type 26 and Type 31e frigates need to be based in Devonport to preserve the long-term future of the naval base.

Both Devonport and Portsmouth are bidding to bring the future ships to each port with the current fleet of 12 Type 23 frigates split between the two bases.

The News launched a Bring Them Here campaign last month, joining the call with city councillors that the new breed of warships would provide a vital lifeline for industrial workers in the city for years to come.

However, the CSEU, which is made up of members from GMB and Unite unions, says the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth-class to Portsmouth has safeguarded the city's future and that Devonport, which is rumoured to lose HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark and HMS Scott in the coming years, is in greater need of the frigates.

Matthew Roberts, south west chair of the CSEU said: 'Should the government choose not to base these ships at Devonport, it could lead to a major long term reduction of work, threatening not only the naval base but the wider dockyard and its lucrative maintenance and refit work operated by Babcock International Group.

'There is a good case for us to have the new frigates here, with the size, facilities and capability of the yard and its workforce, and the popularity of the city and local area with naval personnel and officers.

'It is now critical for the future of Devonport that the majority, or all, of the next generation of frigates are based in the largest operational base in Western Europe. Put simply, Devonport is the biggest and the best.'

The comments come despite Bryan Hulley, the GMB representative for the south, backing the News campaign last month, stating it would give the city a 'new voice' following the loss of shipbuilding in 2013.