'˜Prime minister did everything he said he would do to lure back Portsmouth shipbuilding'

DEFENCE giant BAE Systems says it would welcome any additional industries that would ensure Portsmouth's shiphall benefits the region's economy.

Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 6:30 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 7:16 am
David Cameron

As reported, the company is to use part of the facilities to create a centre of engineering excellence.

It will centralise all repairs for the navy’s minehunter fleet, with BAE saying it will boost maintenance efficiency.

Dominic Carr, BAE commercial and business development director, said: ‘We have a large maritime presence in the Portsmouth area and actively work with local authorities, partners and our supply chain to support a vibrant maritime sector in the Solent.

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‘We welcome all investment in maritime skills that will boost the sector and the regional economy.’

Meanwhile, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt believes Flick Drummond is right in keeping an open mind and not solely focusing on shipbuilding efforts.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘The product has to be high value.

‘But there will be options out there, I am sure, which weren’t there first time around when we explored this as the economy is better now.

‘We have to think about what will add to the area, not just about a business coming in. It’s important that we, as a nation, have shipbuilding skills and we need to be looking at that.

‘But Flick is right, in that we want to ensure that whatever goes in that shiphall, it adds value to the economy as well as retaining the key skills.’

But Ms Mordaunt says David Cameron ‘did everything he said he would do’ to try to bring Magma Structures into the yard – even though the deal failed.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘He put government ministers’ shoulders to the wheel, and we went through a process and it was decided that out of the 21 companies that pushed to go in the shiphall, that Magma was the best.

‘But it is going through a tough time, and I think no-one really thought what would happen to the whole business would be so drastic.

‘I don’t think we can blame the prime minister for that.’

She added: ‘I am speaking to the prime minister about this on a regular basis. He understands the strategic importance of Portsmouth. He is absolutely determined we will get a good outcome to this.’