Prime Minister Faces Questions Over "Unpatriotic" Royal Navy Shipbuilding Decision

1 May 2019, 14:18 | Updated: 1 May 2019, 14:21

The National Shipbuilding Strategy means warships will still be built in the UK.
The National Shipbuilding Strategy means warships will still be built in the UK. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister has faced questions over her "unpatriotic" decision to allow international firms to bid to build new Royal Navy ships.

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn raised the issue at Prime Minister's Questions over the process undertaken for new supply ships.

He asked the Prime Minister: "Will the Prime Minister commit herself here and now to fly the flag and to build the three Royal Navy supply ships in British yards, including the Tyne, by reversing her unpatriotic decision to put this out to international tender?"

Mrs May said her Government has taken shipbuilding in the UK "incredibly seriously", noting a strategy has been published.

She added: "Individual decisions are taken in relation to Royal Navy ships but what is important is we have an overall strategy that encourages shipbuilding around the country."

The National Shipbuilding Strategy sets out the rules for new Royal Navy ships. Rules state that warships must be built in the UK for national security reasons. But ministers have said that supply ships can be built by companies outside the UK.

An MoD Spokesperson said: “All our warships are built in the UK. Our fleet solid support ships are being procured through international competition, because there is no demonstrable national security reason why procurement needs to be restricted.

“British shipbuilding yards are encouraged to bid for our fleet solid support ships.”