November 7th, 2013

Hammond’s PPS: Shutting Portsmouth Threatens Safety of UK

Phillip Hammond’s PPS Penny Mordaunt has not always been this quiet about the naval shipyard in her constituency. In January she wrote in the House magazine:

“Speculation, fuelled in part by the President of the Board of Trade, has it that Portsmouth shipyard will close for buildwork. Naturally, Portsmouth’s economic future is at the fore of my mind, but I am equally concerned about sovereign capabilities and the affordability of the new fleet.”

The rousing article concluded:

“A decision to close Portsmouth would not just be the wrong choice of port; it would be the wrong approach to Britain’s future navel defences and growth agenda. Britain needs Portsmouth.”

So if shutting Portsmouth was bad for growth and UK security in January, what has changed since then? Besides Penny’s promotion…



  1. 1
    Question Brine says:

    Popcorn fans! Don’t miss tonight’s Question Time! On the panel are Nigel Farage and the former Mrs Huhne, Vicky Pryce!


    • 3
      To coin a phrase says:

      There are two sides to Penny


    • 9
      Old Hal says:

      Are there not a few Con fairly marginal constituencies in the vicinity, Handy will be ok now. Do the Cons do joined up thinking or do they do just do micro management.


    • 11
      Poster A says:

      As long as the Scotch people are OK there is no need to worry


      • 12
        I wouldn't says:

        Would you rather be Scotch, though?


        • 44
          We shall fight them on the beaches says:

          Of course! Though some of their neighbours to the south are quite obnoxious and unpleasant towards their fellow Brits, which is surprising guven the onvasion of our islands by so many non-Brits. Jealousy I suppose.


    • 13
      Anonymous says:

      Despite what the papers tell you. Pompey Dockyard is not the home of RN shipbuilding. Guz and Rosyth do a better job at refits as their Dockies are less Unionised, refits are what the Royal Dockyards mainly do since the 60s, not first build.

      Bloody shame they don’t use Harland and Wolf now though as they were good.

      And to say the MOD is not a political tool is stupid as the last place you would site the base of our seaborne nuclear deterrent is at Faslane if it were not to provide jobs for Glasgow. Scupper a ship in the Rhu narrows or mine the Clyde outer areas and the boats would never reach deep water to dive (which is a couple of hours from Faslane). Falmouth was the Navy’s choice but there were no political bribes to be had down there.


      • 24
        Popeye says:

        Have you seen the entrance to Portsmouth harbour?
        One block-ship there and goodnight Vienna. Devonport or Falmouth would be my choice..


    • 41
      Big Killick says:

      Speaking as someone who both served in the RN and lives near Pompey, I have to say it was the correct decision. Shipbuilding actually ended in Portsmouth in 1965, when HMS Andromeda was the last RN warship to be built in the dockyard. It resumed, to a degree (mostly bits of carrier) in 2003 when Vospers were taken over by BAeS and their Southampton yard closed, with the work moved to Portsmouth.
      There just isn’t enough work to keep shipbuilding on the Clyde and at Portsmouth. Of course, if Scotland votes Yes it will be easy to reverse the decision and keep construction work at Portsmouth.


      • 45
        We shall fight them on the beaches says:



      • 105
        Jabez says:

        Big Killick – Good reply – let us hope whatever the decision in Scotland the Scots will vote for Independence. I am sure that the SNP will now be active in “campaigning”, i.e approaching other countries who need the ship building skills they possess. Go for it Mr Salmond and give the Tories a lovely verbal black-eye and announce before the vote that a number of contracts are in the pipeline! As far as giving the work to Portsmouth – hardly possible as they do not have the capacity surely?


    • 53
      Keep Calm, Vote UKIP says:


      • 66
        Andrew says:

        You are ill informed Nigel as are the press and the politicians. They don’t build RN ships at Pompey anymore and haven’t done so for over 40 years. Refits yes, bits of ships yes, build ships NO.


        • 82
          Dave ov Dudley says:

          We don’t have much Union Problems in modern manufacturing becuase the work is too hard for lefties

          They all work on stuff paid for the governmet or am teachers


          • Cato Street Conspirator says:

            ‘We don’t have much Union Problems in modern manufacturing becuase…’

            Or to put it another way ‘because Thatcher and Blair/Brown between them managed to destroy British manufacturing industry’.


        • 113
          John Bellingham says:

          It seems that only 83 ships were ever actually built at Portsmouth since the days of the Mary Rose.


  2. 2
    green pixie says:

    Just what I like to see – a woman prepared to defend her navel.
    Let’s hope that her entry port and inner harbour are equally secure.


  3. 4

    If she still feels that strongly about it, have a by-election, put it to the people a la David Davis on 42 days detention. Sleazy Hancock can also fight on it. Both of them are/were in government, he’s now outside so worse than useless. A by-election would tell Cameron/Clegg that jobs and security of the nation are paramount, not political gestures for Scotland.


    • 16
      Old Hal says:

      Jan, I don’t think the Cons don’t believe in unintended consequences, and it’s never their fault.


  4. 6
    Rear Admiral says:

    Hunt for UB40


  5. 7
    Moving forwards says:

    “it would be the wrong approach to Britain’s future navel defences and growth agenda

    Pass the sick bucket. Are these people incapable of independent thought?


  6. 8
    Belly button says:

    “Navel defences”! Is that a transcription error or was it really published like that? I’d dream up some kind of navel gazing joke except that the state of the nation’s defences is just so depressing my imagination has given up.


  7. 10
    Wiki watch says:

    Still there. Obviously intimidated by odour-odour. Dilema!

    Wiki “Despite tireless lobbying, she was betrayed by her Party in November 2013 when it announced that shipbuilding would cease in her district, yet remained strangely silent and did not resign her job in protest once the announcement was made.[3]”


  8. 15
    Anonymous says:

    Navel defences? Too much belly button gazing going on…


  9. 17
    John de Melle says:

    So if shutting Portsmouth was bad for growth and UK security in January, what has changed since then?

    The United Kingdom was formed when James VI of Scotland became, also, James I of England. Thus the UK ceases to exist if Scotland becomes independent.

    Did the UK join the EU as “The UK”?

    If it did then, surely, England, Ireland & Wales cease to be a member of the EU at the same time as Scotland.

    Interesting times ahead. My bet is that there will be a grand “fudge” by the EU to keep all the countries of the old UK as EU members.


    • 52
      Ma­qb­oul says:

      Wrong. Scotland can choose to leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but it will continue to exist without it.


      • 108
        John de Melle says:

        No! Great Britain is England and Wales PLUS Scotland. The clue is in the words “UNITED KINGDOM” . Wales was beaten and amalgamated with England, it is not a “United Kingdom”. Ireland never had a king when it was annexed by England.

        The UK was formed by uniting the kingdoms of Scotland and England.


    • 97
      Hugh Very Ropey says:

      Er no it didn’t. James I/VI became king of England and Scotland separately. He wanted to form a kingdom of Great Britain and there were designs of flags fairly early on, but the actual union of the crowns didn’t come until 1707 when Scotland bankrupted itself in the attempt to form a colony in Darien ( Central America for those that don’t know ) and had to be bailed out by England.

      The 1801 Act of Union was a de jure annexation of Ireland, partially caused by the fright of French attempted invasion in 1798.

      Irish Free State seceeded from the Union, but the rest remained. E, W & NI will remain as the UK if (oh please!) Jockland becomes independent.


  10. 19
    Ed Miliband says:

    Hollande is going down well at the moment.

    My Hero oh yeth


  11. 20
    Jock Strap says:

    She can resign, campaign and even go on hunger strike. But because she’s irrelevant, it would change nothing.


  12. 22
    Fishy says:

    I’m confused.

    While the BBC are telling me that the shipyard is closing, I understand that it is not, it will be staying open to service and repair vessels.

    I thought that this announcement was being made in the run up to the completion of the Gordon Class (Cyclops) Carriers in 2015, but the BBC implied that people would be given their cards today

    I thought that this decision was made (and a paper to this effect is in the House of Commons) five years ago when…shhhh…Labour were in charge

    I thought that it was accepted if yards had no work to do…they had no work to do.

    I thought that Portsmouth didn’t build ship any more, anyway. According to the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard history the last one completed there was HMS Andromeda in 1967 (although bits of ships might have been built there since)


  13. 23
    UKID DING says:



  14. 25
    The British media are cunts says:

    Of course none of the media scum asked wanker Hammond the obvious question. What happens if the smelly’s don’t vote for independence now but go for it in 10 years time when it would be too late to bring Pompy back ?

    Or fatty racist Salmond could simply hold England to ransom demanding ever more freebies paid for by the English?

    I point out again that in Parliament yesterday there was no dissent from the majority English MP’s over this news. Our political scum are obsessed with the jocks.


    • 30
      Krishnan Guru-Murthy says:

      I did on Ch4 news yesterday evening, but the slimy bastard wouldn’t answer the question!


    • 51
      We shall fight them on the beaches says:

      “Or fatty racist Salmond”, and you’re not at all racist are you, you thick cunt.


      • 75
        Vote UKIP - don't get owned says:

        I would expect that if Scotland voted against Independence that would be it for the next 100 years at least. Going off the lack of ever having had any EU referendum (just a common market trade agreement) it may be another 400 years.


      • 98
        Fuck off all jock twats says:

        @51 fuck off back to Scotland you jock fuck.


  15. 26
    John Tandy says:

    Explanation please Mr Cameron….


  16. 27
    No Molesto El Bebe says:

    The only thing I hear is “They shouldn’t closed this shipyard because it’s in England”. Sorry, amigos. I don’t get it. You’re applying exactly the same argument you accuse Cameron of using.

    You say he refused to close the Govan shipyard because it’s Scottish but you insist he should have kept Plymouth open because it’s English.

    And, by the way, where we you people over the last 40 years when yard after yard was closing in Belfast, the Northeast, in Glasgow and everywhere else? Every port in this country used to have a shipbuilding industry. Now we have nothing and all you can do is whine because Southern England should be immune?

    Pathetic but sadly typical.


    • 34
      RED, RED WHINE says:

      It’s because we generate most of the Country’s wealth, pay the highest proportion of taxes of anywhere else and just get fed up of constant moaning from ‘Ooop North’.


    • 36
      Casual Observer 3 says:

      Whilst S’cotland is in the Union this switch should not matter.

      It will have a negative impact on some workers in Portsmouth area, but the work they had won was only ever temporary and not guaranteed for any particular length of time as the latest developments have demonstrated.

      If the P’ortsmouth work had originally been sold as a long term project for P’ortsmouth then perhaps things could be different.

      What is dangerous is that there does appear to be a bit of S’cotland related politics playing out here and defense contracts should not be used as pawns in quite this way.

      There is a security risk that with the increasing calls for independence in S’cotland that the work that has been transferred will not be completed on time or to an adequate standard. There is also the risk that S’cotland may vote for independence before the RN contract work is completed.

      Cameron is hoping for the ideal case that S’cotland is greatful, delivers on time and within cost, and this perhaps affects the independence vote in favor to remain in the union.

      Reality will likely be: S’cottish unions / SNP activists will work to scupper the works (seeing what happened in Portsmouth, workers would be foolish not to try and maximize income stream from the transferred work), independence vote will likely go through before the contracts are completed and the overall cost to MoD will be inflated.

      The soviet style tactics employed by Cameron on this issue will backfire. These techniques contributed to the dysfunction in the old USSR economy.


    • 77
      Ma­qb­oul says:

      Don’t think you’re listening properly. The argument is that if Scotland votes to leave the Union then Portsmouth would be the only UK yard left so why close it? Govan won’t be building ships for the Scottish navy (at least not in steel).

      The suspicion is that Cameron is trying to buy no votes in the jock referendum with the promise of jobs.


  17. 28
    Why build warships when you could be flipping burgers says:

    Portsmouth Jobs

    McDonald’s currently has the following openings in Portsmouth. Portsmouth jobs vary from time to time based on our current openings. Please check back often for new Portsmouth job openings to find a career that is right for you. Thank you for considering a career in Portsmouth at McDonald’s.


    • 42
      Katya says:

      30 years ago there were over 20,000 skilled jobs in Portsmouth Dockyard, which, for over 200 years was the largest industrial complex in the world


    • 116
      Anonymous says:

      Why worry about building ships, when you can sell rabbits? (See, ‘Roger And Me 1989 Cut’, on YouTube. But, if you get the chance, watch the whole film)


  18. 32
    Sir William Wade says:

    Portsmouth looks derelict already. Whatever will it look like now?


    • 38
      Pompey Forever says:

      Yet another crappy retail park but one near to the sea?


    • 79
      A tattoo-ed fan on the empty terraces says:

      Has the shipyard gone the way of their once terrific footy team?


      • 95
        altruism in industry says:

        there will be EU funded sea side walks covered in Chinese granite with nautical looking urban sculpture and a museum dedicated to the City’s glorious past, a bit like Liverpool.


  19. 33
    Sir Edward Heath says:

    I sealed the fate of the Royal Navy and all hte Navy dockyards with the European Communities act 1972. As little Europeans we don’t need a Navy or dockyards. These are only ueful for global trading nations. Our European “partners” will inform of us the blood and treasure they require and the work wil lgo to Siemens, Augusta, Finmechanica and Thalis. Thisis the Elephnt in the room that all the LibLab Con Scot nats ignore.


  20. 35
    Jack the Ripper says:

    Maybe Cameron will share Portsmouth with the French.


  21. 37
  22. 39
    Admiral lord Nelson says:

    What the fuck is the point of two aircraft carriers without anti submarine frigate support? What sort of tossers run defennce procurement? Only the utter rubbish of a Liebore government could have commission carriers wihtout proper fleet support. Only the trecherous Tories could them continue with the policy.


    • 43
      I wouldn't says:

      Never mind the support, where are the planes?


      • 47
        David Cameron says:

        Never mind the planes, where’s my bumhole ?

        I need to wipe myself.


      • 85
        Anon...........& ALL Voting UKIP.ORG says:

        Both of these Carriers are somewhat a little to big for remote controlled
        small drones IMHO….. lol

        Why did they go for mono hull carriers instead of catamarans which
        are a lot faster & cheaper to build. Plus have TWO flight decks, one for take off
        & one for landing. Which in time of conflict would have ensured a much
        faster response, turn round times & military punch. Thats to much for the vacant cranial cavities of these Parasite,Pimps & Leeches to even comprehend
        let alone understand as they only know how to screw & defecate on everyone,
        more so if you disagree in anyway with there biased illogical logic.

        With complete utter tossers in charge from the Cons*LieLabor*LebDims alliance along with the fossilised dinosaurs in the upper echelons of MoD its
        no wonder the costs are just heading in one direction, upwards, for technology that will be out of date before these carriers even hit the water.

        There are so many Polical & Mandarins stables that are long over due for
        a total clear out of the accumulation of filthy stinking manure that is & has
        bleed us dry, and still these tossers just don’t get it……………

        Just wait until Jan 1 2014 when the hordes of east european locusts descend
        on our small island to pick clean what is left……..
        just to satisfy the EUSSR the real unelected & unaccountable masters of OUR

        And its all been carried out in the name of democracy !!!!


        • 114
          John Bellingham says:

          What you mean is that “THEY” have designed 1960s aircraft carriers for the 2030s. Just as “THEY” now want to build a High Speed train from the 1970s for the later 21st century. Remember, one of the reasons for the Concorde’s commercial failure in the 1980s is that it had the transatlantic capacity expected in the late 1950s. Who puts these effing idiots in charge? Oh! We do.


    • 46
      Calamity Clegg, Chief Cockroach says:

      We LibDems don’t believe in a Defence Policy.

      ‘Open the doors, there’ll be no Wars’, that’s our mantra.


      • 99
        altruism in industry says:

        putting all your scary stuff onto one big boat always struck me as a bit of a vulnerability these days what with missiles getting smarter and faster.


  23. 48
    EU Funded Pro-EU Troll says:

    Vote UKIP


  24. 56
    David Cameron says:

    More government fuckwittery. “Universal credit scheme will waste at least £140m, say MPs”

    Oy fucking Vey !!


  25. 60
    Mitch says:



  26. 62
    Keep Calm, Vote UKIP says:

    UK Police breaking into peoples homes to leave them a warning about burglars ?

    Something deeply wrong with this.

    Vote UKIP.


  27. 64
    Long John Silver's parrot says:

    How will the average UK citizen be any safer having two non nuclear aircraft carriers wandering around in international waters in some 5 to 10 years?

    The only thing I can see is lots and lots of taxes.


    • 68
      Admiral Cochrane says:

      There is a marvelous old wooden hulled sail driven non commissioned ship at Portsmouth right now.

      What is wrong with recommissioning HMS Victory?

      An environmental/cost effective/time effective solution.


      • 70
        Fidel from Cuba says:

        The last time I visited Portsmouth there was a smell of cannabis over the whole town.

        A very strange place if you ask me. Best to keep national security issues far far away.


        • 78
          Vote UKIP - don't get owned says:

          It was sea-weed.


        • 90
          Pissed off Pompey Resident NOW Voting UKIP !!! says:

          Perhaps is was Handycock & his supporters celebrating his latest victory in
          kicking into the long grass the process of bringing him & them to account before
          the Courts. Of course hand*shakes & rolled up trou*ser legs are in no way
          connected to this matter, are they ??


    • 69
      Allan, you at t'bar says:

      Si vis pacem, para bellum.


      • 83
        Malcolm Muggeridge says:

        The problem is surely that during a prolonged period of peace the living standards of the average tax payer are being eroded, millions are unemployed and many millions are in poorly paid jobs they detest many of which never have and never will pay a living wage.

        For such people war or a foreign invasion would be welcome opportunity to view show trials on TV and the subsequent execution of certain leaders.


  28. 73
    Breaking News says:

    When asked for their view on female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour killings, marital r*pe and the execution of gays, r*pe victims and adulterers, brave and courageous journalists Owen Jones, Laurie Penny and Polly Toynbee, who consistently fight for social justice, said “But, but, let’s talk about the corporations and the, um, corporations, and, um, you see, the government, it’s all Cameron’s fault, and even though she’s dead, it’s Thatcher’s fault too, whatever it is we’re talking about, it’s all her fault.”

    When asked again for their opinion on female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour killings, marital r*pe and the execution of gays, r*pe victims and adulterers, as well as girls and women being forced to dress in a shroud, Owen Jones, Laurie Penny and Polly Toynbee said “Your question is islamaphobic. It’s very islamaphobic. Don’t ask us islamaphobic questions. There are more important things to talk about, like the corporations and the corporations and Cameron and corporations and Thatcher and corporations”.


    • 96
      Thames Dover Wight says:

      Spot on there me old reader.
      Also how long will it be before the UK is forced by the EU to remove the prefix HMS from our Naval vessels-its coming to a fleet near to you soon.


    • 110
      Pick litter for bennies says:

      Don,t forget Halal meat!,now that is barbaric..Why is the RSPCA not getting involved?.


  29. 74
    Penny for your thoughts? says:

    I don’t do principles. I am a LibLabConner


  30. 76
    Vote UKIP - don't get owned says:

    What has been ignored here is that Portsmouth is NOT ‘shutting down’. A small fact but I would argue a very important one.


  31. 84
    Del Boy says:

    That Philip Hammond is a rich count who drives round in a Jaguar and has enjoyed a few jollies in the past with Nat West Bank.

    I would much rather he left all our money alone thank you very much.


  32. 86
    The Three Stooges says:

    We cannot apologise for lying about Andrew Mitchell. However, we do apologise profusely for being so thick and devious.


  33. 87
    Ric Holden,CCHQ says:

    Guido Fawkes has launched an attack on BBC star Jeremy Paxman for his “sneering” attitude to politics.
    The right wing political blogger said the Newsnight presenter treated all right wing political bloggers as “rogues and charlatans”.


  34. 92
    altruism in industry says:

    I think I should point out that we are an island, that 70% of the planet is covered in water and that the 75 billion HS2 will cost would build a half decent ship building industry in Portsmouth which would create loads of ongoing work for industry in Birmingham and elsewhere.


  35. 93

    I see no ships only hardships. The next batch of Navy ships Made in China or perhaps North Korea. Strange but nevertheless very interesting.


    • 109
      altruism in industry says:

      there is no way that this can be allowed to happen. Imagine the ease whereby the constructor can incorporate wizardry shit into the vessel so that when you really need it to work it crashes. these people in government are fucking about on the assumption that everybody is our friend


  36. 100
    Britain's enemies says:

    We promise not to invade England, even if the Scots become independent


  37. 101
    Thames Dover Wight says:

    In 1977 British shipbuilding was nationalised it went down hill from there on the far east countries benefited. The latest Maersk line triple Es container ships been built in Korea and just entered service this year. The NE shipyards use to build VLCC tankers


  38. 106
    Rear Admiral says:

    The MOD have announced that HMS Margaret Thatcher, a destroyer, will be built on the Clyde if the Scottish people do not vote for independence.


  39. 107
    fed-up in britain says:



  40. 111
    Pick litter for bennies says:

    PORTSMOUTH V CLYDE.No its not an Inter toto draw but it was an open goal of a chance to cast jockland +50 labour mp,s into Mr Salmond,s embrace.


  41. 115
    (I've been renamed) DA-Notice says:

    I’m having terrible trouble with bellybutton fluff.


  42. 117
    Napoleon Bonaparte says:

    HA HA stupid Englishmen.

    We will make you say Merde.


  43. 118
    The Argie Junta says:

    This is a great idea. Thank you.


  44. 119
    Somalian Pirate Lad says:

    Hwhat a grate idea.

    Hwe shall stap being pirates for you and we be friends yea?

    Now lend me your TV.


  45. 120
    Anonymous says:

    “…First close 11 factories in the U. S…
    then open 11 in Mexico, where you pay the workers 70 cents an hour.
    Use the money you saved by building cars in Mexico to take over other companies…
    preferably high-tech firms and weapons manufacturers.
    Next, tell the union you’re broke…
    and they happily give back a couple of billion dollars in wage cuts.
    Then take that money from workers…
    and eliminate their jobs by building more foreign factories.
    Roger Smith was a true genius…”

    From the film Roger & Me (1989) by Michael Moore.


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