THE closure of a Hampshire shipyard should be shelved at least until after Scotland votes on independence, an MP has told the Government.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham warned the Ministry of Defence would be left “without a plan B for warships” if Scots vote to break away from the UK.

Speaking in the Commons the Labour MP said: “In September the Portsmouth warship yard, where many of my constituents work, will shut. That will leave the Government without a plan B for warships if the referendum goes the wrong way.”

“Will the Secretary of State look to delay the closure until the referendum is over, until there is a new user and until there is a credible plan for training manufacturing and engineering apprentices in southern Hampshire?”

In reply Business Secretary Vince Cable said ministers were working “as rapidly as possible finding alternative commercial users” for the yard.

Dodging the issue of the referendum, he added: “The maritime industries are, of course, crucial in Portsmouth, as they are in the right honourable gentleman’s constituency.”

BAE Systems announced the the shipyard closure in November, with the loss of more than 900 jobs. This includes 300 workers from the Southampton area, who worked at Vosper Thornycroft before it moved to Portsmouth in 2003.

The Scots will vote on September 18.