It will be difficult, but people will bounce back

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The news in the past week has been dominated by the loss of shipbuilding at Portsmouth.

It will obviously be a great blow for the people directly concerned and for the wider economy.

It has, of course, been good to have the work for the two aircraft carriers. But I think it would have made sense, at the very least, to have waited until the question for independence for Scotland had been settled as the Royal Navy has not traditionally ordered ships from foreign countries (which Scotland would then be).

Jobs in Portsmouth should not have been sacrificed on the altar of Scottish independence.

I have had numerous meetings about shipbuilding over the past few years with BAE, the government and the city council and I am still pressing for Offshore Patrol ships to be built in Portsmouth.

This will not be easy but I am determined to do all that I can to fight for this work.

There will, though, be £100m invested in the naval base so as to enable it to be the home port for the aircraft carriers as well as destroyers.

And I believe that the people of Portsmouth and south Hampshire are resourceful and will find ways to bounce back, even if it will be difficult.

We need firstly to see how the facilities and buildings at the dockyard can be used to continue shipbuilding for the Royal Navy, for other countries, commercially or for other maritime industries.

And I will be pressing BAE, the government and the navy to make sure that they do all they can to co-operate with any interested parties and possible schemes.

Many of these jobs are very highly-skilled and deal with the computer systems and electronics needed for modern warships.

We need to work to see whether these skills and jobs can be transferred to new firms and sectors such as the space industry which is strong locally.