Portsmouth MP hits back at senior source’s claim over shiphall’s future

The shiphall''in Portsmouth
The shiphall''in Portsmouth
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.''Picture: Steve Reid

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THE MP for Portsmouth North has dismissed claims that there is no interest from companies in redeveloping a former shiphall facility.

Penny Mordaunt hit out after a senior source told The News no-one was interested or had an offer on the table to bring commercial work back to the facility, in Portsmouth dockyard.

While most of the hub – formerly used to build ships until the trade was sent to Scotland – is now home to BAE Systems’ Minor War Vessels Centre of Specialisation, Ms Mordaunt has been pushing for a mix of work to boost the region’s maritime status.

In response to the senior source’s claims, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘This person is clearly trying to make mischief.

‘I am probably not aware of all of the interest, but I am aware of two companies at present.’

It comes after a dockyard worker issued a plea for local politicians to move on from the shipbuilding saga and focus on better projects and other issues that need addressing. As reported, plans to bring the Royal Navy’s £3.1bn super-carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, into Portsmouth this May have been scuppered due to delays in her maiden sea trials programme. The 11-week test had been earmarked to take place in March, although now the government is refusing to confirm an exact date, instead proposing some point in summer.

The setback means the 65,000-tonne behemoth will miss its planned star-studded homecoming date, as Portsmouth City Council had been told to expect the carrier between May 28 and June 4.