'˜Heed report's advice to build more warships', says Portsmouth MP

WHITEHALL needs to heed the advice of a key report which said the UK should build more Royal Navy warships, an MP has warned.

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 6:01 am
Flick Drummond

Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP, has urged the government to listen to recommendations by Sir John Parker on the UK’s national shipbuilding strategy.

Speaking during a parliamentary debate, Mrs Drummond told MPs: ‘Given the growing uncertainty in the world, it makes sense to get on now with the commitment in the 2015 strategic defence and security review to expand the basic number of ships available beyond the 19 at frigate and destroyer level, which is already a bare minimum.’

Mrs Drummond also praised defence firms in the Portsmouth area who are supporting the maritime industry by offering apprenticeships.

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She said the industry was bigger than aerospace, but receives arguably less government support despite being a highly skilled sector of the economy.

‘I pay tribute to employers, such as BAE Systems in my constituency, which is taking on a further 50 apprentices in 2017 in their maritime operations in Portsmouth, after taking on 82 last year,’ she said. ‘There are others nearby, such as Lockheed Martin, which is active in the naval defence sector and recruits from Portsmouth schools and colleges.’

She added the city’s new university technical college would help create the maritime engineers of the future.