Union backs call for navy’s new frigates to be based in Portsmouth

Computer Generated Image of the future Type 26 Global Combat Ship for the Royal Navy
Computer Generated Image of the future Type 26 Global Combat Ship for the Royal Navy
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A TRADE union has thrown its weight behind a bid to make Portsmouth the home of all the Royal Navy’s future frigates.

The regional organiser of GMB – the group which represents hundreds of dockyard workers in Portsmouth – is today backing The News’s Bring Them Here campaign.

Bryan Hulley, who represents the union in the area, pledged to back the campaign which he argued would give the city a new voice following the loss of shipbuilding in 2013.

He claimed the move would strengthen the city’s hand in drumming up more work for engineers at the naval base when it came to future maintenance and refitting programmes.

Mr Hulley said: ‘We would support the frigates coming to Portsmouth.

‘This would go someway to alleviating the frustration felt when shipbuilding was taken away. I think Portsmouth has certainly been forgotten by the government.

‘Once they moved shipbuilding to Scotland, it was like Portsmouth no longer existed anymore. So we would welcome anything that would bring more work into the dockyard.’

The GMB is the latest to back the campaign, which began earlier this week.

It comes after a demand from the leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Donna Jones, who called on the government to base-port all the new Type 31e and Type 26 frigates in the city.

She claims the move would create a boom in jobs and a surge in the area’s economy – something which GMB agrees with.

Mr Hulley agrees the new frigates could bring more jobs into the city.

But he added the city could potentially clinch lucrative maintenance and refit work for the dockyard.

‘The facilities are still here from the shipbuilding not being used,’ he said.

‘The are still a lot of skilled workers in the area after shipbuilding was moved from the city.’

No decision has yet been made about where the new frigates will be based.

But Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt previously said the city’s naval base would be the ‘prime base’ for the frigates.

But she said it would ultimately be up to the navy to decide.

The Type 31e and Type 26s will replace the navy’s Type 23 frigates – of which six are based in Portsmouth.

At least eight Type 26s and five Type 31e frigates will be built, the government has previously said.