SOUTHAMPTON MP John Denham has called for the Government to keep ship-building in Hampshire if Scotland breaks away from the UK.

The Itchen MP was speaking after his Labour colleague, Shadow Defence spokesman Vernon Coaker, said the UK Government would be unlikely to give key defence contracts to Scottish firms if the country votes for independence later this year.

Last year it was announced almost 1,000 jobs will be lost at BAE System’s Portsmouth shipbuilding base, while the firm will maintain its operations in Scotland.

Mr Denham said: “The Government is shifting work away from Portsmouth and letting the workforce drift away even though, if the referendum goes against the UK, Portsmouth will be needed more than ever.”