Letter of the day
Well done Donna Jones, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, in requesting a ship be named HMS Portsmouth.
In 1997 I led a campaign to have the Type 45 destroyers built in our dockyard and to have the two aircraft carriers built and berthed in Portsmouth.
As the Labour MP then I thought my government would be sympathetic to my demands.
I succeeded with the Type 45 destroyers and with building part and having the aircraft carriers berthed in our port.
My plea in Hansard for the aircraft carriers to be named after Portsmouth or Nelson to link us to the Capital Class ships was rebuffed by John Reid, the minister who cheekily said that he wanted them to be named HMS George Robertson (The Secretary of State at the time) and HMS John Reid. He was of course joking.
The reason a ship will not be named after our city is that the previous ship with that name was scuttled in 1689, not sunk in honour.
These old fashioned rules still applied even with a modern thinking Blair government.
I hope Donna succeeds with her government because the great city of Portsmouth has earned the right to the title.
Somehow I think we will stay disappointed.
Portsmouth North MP 1997-2005