Conservative Minister Denies Plans to Sell HMS Prince of Wales

PLD
19 Mar 2024
HMS Prince of Wales in port

Conservative Minister Denies Plans to Sell HMS Prince of Wales

A Conservative Minister has finally ruled out selling or mothballing HMS Prince of Wales after weeks of pressure from Leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr Steve Pitt, Parliamentary candidate Charlie Murphy and the Portsmouth Liberal Democrats.

HMS Prince of Wales appears to be safeguarded following weeks of Lib Dem calls for ministers to take consideration of her sale or mothballing off the table.

However, doubts have been cast over whether the Conservative Government's commitment to HMS Prince of Wales will last after the same minister revealed today that Plymouth-based HMS Bulwark is unlikely to return to sea. 

In February reports emerged in the MailOnline and Portsmouth News that the ship could be sold in an effort to save cash in the Royal Navy.

Parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South Charlie Murphy and Cllr Steve Pitt, Lib Dem Leader of Portsmouth City Council, wrote a joint letter to the Conservative Secretary of State for Defence urging him to completely rule out selling or mothballing the ship.

In their letter, Charlie Murphy and Cllr Pitt wrote that HMS Prince of Wales is "of essential importance not just to Portsmouth, but to British, European and NATO security".

However, in the same day that Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge MP responded to Portsmouth Liberal Democrats' call to safeguard HMS Prince of Wales, he also appeared to confirm that assault ship HMS Bulwark would now be unlikely to return to sea.

This comes barely a month after Conservative Foreign Office Minister Andrew Mitchell assured MPs that HMS Bulwark would remain in active service.

 

On reports of the Conservative Government walking back their commitment to keep HMS Bulwark in service, Portsmouth South Parliamentary Candidate Charlie Murphy said:

 

"Together with HMS Albion, HMS Bulwark performs a key role in the Royal Navy as an amphibious assault ship. She is suited to conducting both humanitarin and combat missions which require a specialised ship capable of deploying Royal Marines and their equipment. The Conservative Government clearly promised MPs that HMS Bulwark would remain in service, but today it seems that they have broken their word, she is to be mothballed in all but name.

If these reports are true, it is a worrying sign of yet further deep cuts to defence which leave us less safe, less able to help our allies, and less capable of conducting vital humanitarian work around the world."

 

The Liberal Democrats recently published their own plan for defence, which included a reversal of the already proposed cuts to the British Army. You can find more details on the Liberal Democrats' plan for a Fair Deal here.

 

 

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