Queen Elizabeth carrier will be in Portsmouth ‘in weeks’, defence minister says

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THE long-awaited arrival of the Queen Elizabeth carrier into Portsmouth will be ‘within weeks rather than months’, a defence minister has said.

Harriett Baldwin said ‘the route is clear’ for the carrier’s arrival into Portsmouth after dredging of the harbour was completed.

Defence minister Harriett Baldwin at Portsmouth's dockyard

Defence minister Harriett Baldwin at Portsmouth's dockyard

The Conservative MP was speaking during a trip to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, to announce a range of new contracts for navy ships.

She said: ‘I am really pleased that people in Portsmouth are so excited about the Queen Elizabeth carrier.

‘It will be a fantastic time when it sails in.’

Mrs Baldwin said the carrier was still undergoing sea trials, and the finish date would depend on factors including weather and tides.

Today it was announced that more than 20,000 items – including a human skull and sea mines – had been found during dredging.

She added: ‘I really want to pay tribute to the teams who worked so hard to complete the dredging.

‘We are now looking at weeks rather than months for the carrier’s arrival. Portsmouth is now ready.’

The new contracts include a deal with Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), part of the Ministry of Defence, to supply the navy with more than 10,000 different types of consumable items, ranging from fittings to pistons.

BAE Systems has also been awarded contracts worth £72m to support cutting-edge radar systems on board navy ships.

Martin Chandler, BAE head of business development, said he was ‘pleased’ to have secured the ‘competitive’ contracts.

It includes maintenance work at the company’s Cowes site on the Isle of Wight, supporting 255 jobs.