Ships supporting HMS Queen Elizabeth ‘should be built in the UK’ says trade union

A welder at work during construction of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth
A welder at work during construction of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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CAMPAIGNERS from a trade union have been lobbying MPs to ensure ships supporting the HMS Queen Elizabeth are built here in the UK.

GMB trade union members from Portsmouth Naval Base were joined by a national delegation to pressure the government on having three new fleet solid support ships built in UK shipyards.

The news comes after it was revealed that bids had been opened for the construction of the ships to foreign shipbuilding companies.

GMB believes that these ships should be constructed in UK shipyards instead.

The solid support ships are used by the Royal Navy to carry a range of stores to replenish other ships at sea.

Regional organiser Bryan Hulley said: ‘There is no question these ships have complex weapons systems and should be built in the UK.

‘This report could be the catalyst needed to start the ball rolling and breathe new life into the ship construction facilities at Portsmouth which are currently laying idle.

‘It is very clear that it is in the public and national interest to build these three new ships in British shipyards.

‘It’s time for the Portsmouth MPs to stand up and be counted – to throw their full weight behind the campaign and be very vocal about.’

‘If we are to remain a manufacturing nation post Brexit it would be utter madness to not have them built in the UK.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has given her backing to the report.

She said: ‘We can build ships competitively in the UK.

‘In my view our ability to produce vessels is a capability we want to maintain and to do that we need a steady order book for UK yards and no monopolies.

‘Plans for the future fleet need to be closely tied to how we maintain that capability.

‘We also know from the Mars tanker contract that it was tough for UK companies to become suppliers. We must learn those lessons.’