MINISTER for Portsmouth Michael Fallon has hailed today as a proud day for Portsmouth, as HMS Queen Elizabeth is officially named by the Queen.
The eyes of the nation will turn to Rosyth today, where the future Portsmouth-based ship is the focus of a grand launch ceremony.
Meanwhile, in Portsmouth, shipbuilders and Royal Navy servicemen and women will gather to watch the events at the naval base.
Michael Fallon said: ‘This is a proud day for Portsmouth and the people who have helped build this magnificent warship.
‘HMS Queen Elizabeth will arrive in Portsmouth in early 2017 and will be at the heart of the city’s landscape for years to come, providing a long-term contribution to jobs, skills and growth in the local economy.
‘£100 million is being invested in the naval base to prepare for the arrival of the ship, including dredging, refurbishing jetties and installing new power supplies.
‘With both carriers based in Portsmouth the tonnage of naval vessels based in the port will be at its highest level since the early 1960s, helping to sustain thousands of jobs.’
Last night, defence secretary Philip Hammond thanked the defence industry for its help in building the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier.
He said: The engineers, designers, steel-cutters, welders, plumbers, electricians, software writers and the many other trades that are required to build complex warships, from Rosyth to Appledore, from the banks of the Clyde to the shores of the Solent; together they have demonstrated what a united Britain can accomplish.
‘As a warship in service, she will not just be a military capability but a giant floating advertisement for the high calibre of Britain’s manufacturing and industrial base.
‘The Queen Elizabeth will demonstrate that not only can we punch above our weight militarily, but also that we have the skills and ingenuity in this country to rival any in the world.
‘For half a century, she will be an enduring symbol of our commitment to play a leading role on the global stage. Those who have worked on this great vessel should take great pride.
‘They have not just built a new flagship of the Royal Navy, but a flagship for the nation.’