Broken promises – it’s a phrase that Portsmouth is, sadly, getting more used to hearing when it comes to shipbuilding.
First, in reply to a letter written by The News and signed by our politicians, David Cameron as near as promised the city that shipbuilding would be coming back.
It took a couple of months to get a reply to our letter but in January 2014 Mr Cameron wrote: ‘I make this pledge to you today: this government will do everything we can to protect the future of the shipyard and the livelihoods of the people who work there.’
A promising start, we thought.
And then, the Prime Minister said as much again when he visited Portsmouth during his 2015 election campaign, when he announced Magma Structures would be coming to the dockyard.
At the time, the revelation created a balloon of optimism over the continuation of the city’s shipbuilding heritage.
However, with the General Election behind him and victory in the bag, this balloon of optimism inflated by the PM slowly began to deflate.
It started with delays and legal arguments over leasing agreements rearing their heads.
For months, The News pressured the government and Magma to come clean about the beleaguered negotiations to takeover the former BAE shiphall.
Each time, we were reassured the deal was still on track; that the delays were just a slight set back; that shipbuilding would again come back to its rightful home.
But today we are hearing that the balloon has all but burst.
All the promises made during visits by Tory political bigwigs like George Osborne, David Cameron and Michael Fallon were hot air, it would appear.
A former council leader has branded Mr Cameron’s pledges a lie – a ploy to win votes.
The News is inclined to agree. It’s been two years since Mr Cameron wrote to us, promising to preserve shipbuilding. Well, Mr Cameron, why have you not fulfilled that pledge? Portsmouth has been lied to too many times. Mr Cameron, it’s time to begin telling us the truth...