MP Mike Hancock wants new ship to replace jobs lost at BAE

Calls for £200m polar research ship to be built in Portsmouth

Calls for £200m polar research ship to be built in Portsmouth

First published in News

MPs have called for a new £200 million polar research ship to be built in Hampshire.

The plea to build it in Portsmouth comes after the city was hit by 900 job cuts last year when BAE axed its operations at the historic shipyard.

Last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the Government will fund the new vessel, which will go towards replacing the UK’s two current polar exploration ships, which are nearing the end of their lives.

The ship will have on-board laboratories and carry cutting-edge technology including robotic submarines and “underwater gliders” to gather data on marine biology and ocean conditions.

Now, Mike Hancock, independent MP for Portsmouth South, has written to Business Secretary Vince Cable asking him to ensure that the contract is awarded to the city.

He said: “This represents a massive opportunity to right the wrongs that were inflicted on the people of Portsmouth through no fault of their own.

“Government and commercial decisions dealt a hard blow to the city and this new ship provides the perfect chance to rectify this situation.

“I understand EU regulations mean the Government will have to listen to bids from other countries who may wish to build the vessel.

“I would argue it is absolutely essential the Government does the right thing – build the vessel in the UK and put the Portsmouth dockyard and its workforce back into work and retain those shipbuilding skills before they are lost forever.”

Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, has asked for a meeting with the Chancellor about the proposal.

She said: “This is a great opportunity. I have requested a meeting with the Chancellor about it, along with a number of other things to do with the dockyard.

“The timetable of this suits us well because they will be putting this out to tender now and the ship would be in its trials in 2018 – we are looking at moving very quickly on this.

“It is clearly the sort of ship that our local workforce is all about.”

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