Plymouth MPs' 'strongest' fight to save naval base

HMS Victorious leaving Devonport Naval Base
Image caption The results of the government's strategic defence review are expected in the autumn

Plymouth's MPs are working "to make the strongest possible case" to ensure the future of the city's naval base.

A report in a Sunday newspaper claimed the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, had offered to sacrifice Devonport Naval Base.

South West Devon MP Gary Streeter said the government had indicated to him and the city's other two MPs that Devonport was not being considered for closure.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has refused to comment on the report.

The Sunday Times report also suggested that Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope had offered to give the Army control of the Royal Marines as part of a bid to try to avoid further cuts to surface ships.

Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, has been working with other Plymouth MPs, Oliver Coleville and Alison Seabeck.

Autumn announcement

"Latest indicators we have had from ministers are that Devonport is not being considered for closure," he said.

Last year Devonport came out of a Naval Base Review with a commitment from the then Labour government that it would be the home of the Royal Navy's amphibious ships, HMS Ocean, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark.

The review declared it would become home to some of the Royal Marines who serve on ships too and that it would also be the UK's "deep maintenance facility" - essentially the base for all major surface ship refits.

The base, which employs people from Devon and Cornwall, is the only site where the Navy can refuel and refit its nuclear submarines.

The government is currently carrying out a strategic defence review of the shape and size of the UK's armed forces.

However, the results are not expected to be announced until the autumn.

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