Portsmouth MP in frigates base plea to MoD minister

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CPO Martin Owen helps Meon Junior School pupils with their Lego robots. Picture by Malcolm Wells

Navy engineers help students to perfect their Lego robots

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PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock has written to defence minister Peter Luff to state the case for the navy’s new Type 26 frigates to be built and based in Portsmouth.

The letter comes amid concerns that the city’s £370m-a-year shipbuilding industry, which supports 4,000 jobs, may collapse in 2014.

As previously reported in The News, Mr Hancock wants the fleet of 13 new ships to be built in Portsmouth to offset job losses if, as feared, BAE Systems shuts its yard once work ends on two new aircraft carriers.

In the letter, the MP writes: ‘I urge you to consider Portsmouth as the main site for building the Type 26 frigates in your upcoming talks with BAE, in order to ensure that Portsmouth remains a major centre for ship building.

‘Portsmouth already has substantial resources to cope with building these frigates and a long history of shipbuilding.

‘Furthermore, the rewarding of this contract would offset the job losses of 1,300 Portsmouth workers from a separate shipbuilding division.’