This morning, Luke Pollard MP responded to a story on BBC News that the Conservative Government are considering scrapping Devonport based HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark as part of a package of cost-cutting measures. Luke has strongly condemned these plans and pledged to fight them "tooth and nail."
There’s been persistent speculation about cuts to Plymouth’s Armed Forces for many months. If Devonport loses its amphibious assault crafts, that means the Royal Navy could lose its capability to fight that type of war completely. Luke is worried these leaks are a deliberate strategy to soften us up for more bad news. Devonport Dockyard and naval base is the backbone of Plymouth’s economy. Scrapping the UK's amphibious capabilities could be a prelude to reducing the size of our Royal Marines, massively reducing the role of Plymouth in terms of our national defence.
"The Conservatives are thinking about scrapping all the Royal Navy’s amphibious assault ships in the biggest betrayal of Devonport by any Government in a generation.
The BBC is reporting that the Devonport-based HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark will join HMS Ocean in being scrapped due to Minister’s mismanagement of the defence budget and rising costs due to Sterling’s plummeting value since the Brexit referendum.
Let me be clear: I will fight these Tory defence cuts tooth and nail in Westminster. The Tories have no military strategy, no coherent policy and are destroying our naval capabilities to satisfy over-zealous Treasury accountants without consideration for our military or national defence.
In uncertain times we need a strong Royal Navy. Scrapping three of Devonport’s most capable ships will remove our nation’s amphibious capabilities and usher in dark clouds over the Royal Marines too.
I will fight these cuts and stand up for Plymouth’s defence jobs. As the son of a submariner I know how vital theses Royal Navy jobs are for our city and I won’t let the Tories cut them without one hell of a fight.
I’ve contacted Plymouth’s Conservative MPs and Council Leader to put together a cross party campaign opposing these cuts. If we don’t make that case now, I fear we will lose these warships and suffer major cuts to our Royal Marines with it. This is how high the stakes are."
On Tuesday 10 October Luke was able to ask a question on the chamber on this issue that you can watch below: