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Shadow Defence Secretary hears case for Portsmouth from City MP

Dry docks, D-Day and veteran’s mental health. Portsmouth MP hosts Shadow Defence Secretary to showcase Portsmouth’s position as a national leader.

Portsmouth MP, Stephen Morgan has hosted the Shadow Defence Secretary in a bid to drum up support for Portsmouth being chosen as the location for a new dry dock facility for the nation’s carriers.

The visit also included extensive strategy discussions relating to Mr Morgan’s ongoing campaign and lobbying of government Ministers to improve mental services for veterans and a tour of the city’s historic links with D-Day.

Mr Morgan spent some time lobbying the Secretary of State to back Portsmouth as the frontrunner in the considerations for where a new dry dock facility should be built.

The Ministry of Defence is exploring plans to build a new mega dry dock capable of housing Britain’s two new aircraft carriers in a venture that could be worth hundreds of millions if secured for Portsmouth.

On a dry dock facility, Mr Morgan said:

“I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Shadow Secretary Portsmouth’s historic relationship with the Royal Navy but also its future capabilities. The implementation of a dry facility in Portsmouth would create and protect at least 100 jobs, be worth £1 billion to our city’s economy and would once again secure our city’s name on the map.”

Nia Griffith MP has said:

“Following discussions with Mr Morgan about a dry dock facility in Portsmouth, it is evident the city would benefit hugely from its presence. I will be bearing in mind the points made by Stephen in upcoming discussions with other senior Ministers and Secretaries of State.”

Nia Griffith MP also spent time with Mr Morgan discussing his recent action on veteran’s mental health. The visit comes a month after the Portsmouth MP hosted a Westminster Hall debate calling on the Government to require coroners to record veteran suicide.

The Shadow Defence Secretary has said:

“I have spoken with Mr Morgan about the commendable actions of organisations like All Call Signs in his constituency and about how we need to do more to protect our brave ex-service personnel.

An important step is to join our allies in recording the number of veterans who tragically take their own lives, in order that we can fully understand the scale of this issue.

In an NHS England budget of over £150 billion UK-wide, less than £10 million per annum (0.007%) has been allocated to veteran-specific mental health services. Many would agree that this is far too little for such an important cause. A Labour government would see this changed.”

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The Shadow Defence Secretary spent time not only discussing Portsmouth’s future contributions to the security of the nation but also visited attractions in the run up to the D-Day 75 commemorations. The visit included a trip to local attraction, Spinnaker Tower where Mr Morgan was able to point out the areas of the city where Allied personnel, like his own grandfather, set sail from nearly 75 years ago.

Following a landscape overview at the tower, the Shadow Secretary spent time at the transformed D-Day Story which reopened last year.

On this, Mr Morgan has said:

“It is impossible to discuss the Allied invasion of Normandy, nearly 75 years ago, without mentioning this great city. Portsmouth played a pivotal role in the orchestration of over 300,000 troops, 60,000 vehicles and 100,000 tons of supplies that made the landings possible.

The fact that this city is to be the home of the D-Day 75 commemorations this June is both an honour and a privilege. The eyes of the world will be on Portsmouth.

It was helpful to show my colleague some of our city’s assets which will feature so prominently in international events in the coming months.”

Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith MP has said:

My visit to Portsmouth ahead of D-Day 75 has reaffirmed in my mind the historic significance of this great coastal city.

The poignancy of both observing the locations from which the ships set sail and hearing the personal stories of the troops at ‘The D-Day Story’ cannot be underestimated and I will be joining others in paying tribute to these brave men and women for D-Day 75.”