Tory Defence Minister Quizzed by Lib Dems on Reported Aircraft Carrier Cuts

6 Mar 2024
HMS Prince of Wales

In a joint letter, Liberal Democrats Charlie Murphy and Councillor Steve Pitt have urged the Conservative Defence Secretary to safeguard one of the UK’s aircraft carriers which is reportedly at risk of Tory cuts. 

Charlie Murphy, the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Portsmouth South said: 

“Last month, the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales was hastily put to sea after her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, broke down ahead of a key NATO exercise. This demonstrates how important it is for us to have two of these ships, it is essential for British security that we can mobilise one even if the other fails.  
Grant Shapps needs to think again and confirm that HMS Prince of Wales is safe.”

The aircraft carriers are the largest ships based at HM Naval Base Portsmouth, which employs tens of thousands of people in the city. 

Last week, reports emerged in the national media that the Conservative Government is considering selling or mothballing HMS Prince of Wales. The aircraft carrier only entered service less than five years ago at a cost of £3.5 billion to the taxpayer. 

Councillor Steve Pitt, the Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: 

“The Royal Navy are a huge employer in Portsmouth. They are critical for the city. The loss of HMS Prince of Wales would be devastating, and a real disappointment given we only welcomed her home less than five years ago.” 

Unnamed sources have issued contradictory statements on the issue to the national media, and the Liberal Democrats have called on Grant Shapps to clear up the uncertainty and guarantee that HMS Prince of Wales will remain in service. 

You can read the full letter to the Secretary of State for Defence below: 

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