MP ‘confident’ of meeting minister over Pompey cash

UNDER FIRE Jeremy Hunt
UNDER FIRE Jeremy Hunt
On-loan defender Anton Walkes

Season ends for Pompey pair

Have your say

PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock is confident of meeting culture secretary Jeremy Hunt over Pompey’s future – despite the minister being embroiled in the BSkyB scandal.

Mr Hancock and fellow local MPs Penny Mordaunt and Caroline Dinenage penned a letter to the Conservative minister last month seeking a meeting to discuss releasing Sport England funds to help the Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s takeover bid.

But calls have been raised for Mr Hunt to quit his post after it was alleged he had a close relationship with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation during its planned takeover of the broadcaster.

Although he has yet to receive a response from Mr Hunt’s office, Mr Hancock believes the meeting can still go ahead.

He said: ‘I sent him a note saying “come on, MPs have returned and despite the problems what are you going to do about it?”

‘We’ve heard nothing since but at the moment he’s ducking and diving everywhere.

‘It shouldn’t hinder our request.

‘He should be doing the job and fulfilling his commitments.

‘Ministers are saying they are always available to MPs, so I would be really surprised if we hadn’t heard anything by next week.

‘I’m confident of getting a meeting.’

Sport England previously refused to grant funds to help Pompey’s fight for survival.

Ashley Brown, trust chairman, said they have been working in ‘a number of areas to secure significant public funding’, including the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership’s £12m Growing Places fund.

The fund aims to support projects that can create new jobs in the region.

He said: ‘Sport England may be one part but they are certainly not the only route of public funding.

‘We continue to look at the LEP and are working with some organisations locally that will help us with that.

‘Trevor Birch (Pompey’s administrator) has a responsibility to look at all bids and it’s important that people continue to back us as we can make him an offer he cannot refuse.

‘If people don’t want Balram Chainrai as an owner of Portsmouth Football Club, fill out a share form.’

You can download a form to sign up to the trust’s share scheme by visiting