Home secretary Amber Rudd visited Southampton on the campaign trail - just hours after the Conservative party launched their 2017 manifesto.
Taking in a tour of the ABP building and a meeting with new ABP Southampton director Alastair Welch Ms Rudd took questions from the Daily Echo - and confirmed that she would be backing plans to expand the Port of Southampton.
As previously reported, campaigners against the Dibden Bay development have been warned that new plans could be unveiled before the end of the year, after ABP’s application to turn Dibden Bay into a huge container terminal was thrown out by the previous Labour government after a 13 month public enquiry.
But Ms Rudd said she is working with local candidate Royston Smith to “keep the community happy.”
She said “It’s a long term project” but with “£100million investments since Brexit and £50million investment here” she said she was “approaching the future with confidence.”
She added: “It’s been really encouraging to hear that the potential plans here in the port are a really success story and it’s been great to hear the scale of the employment and their ambitions - and making sure that grows, and the investment they’re prepared to put into it.”
But she added that the “proposals for the expansion do take in the environmental challenges and they’re very open about making sure they engage with the local communities who are concerned about it so hopefully we can get a solution that does allow for expansion but also does protect the environment.”
But on policing, and reports from Hampshire Police Federation that officers in the force have had to use charity food vouchers from a police welfare fund, Ms Rudd simply said she “hadn’t been aware of officers going to food banks” - and that she “invited any police officer to come and talk to me about it.”