Labour MP John Spellar insisted that as Theresa May leaves Number 10 she should consider that her final actions will impact her overall legacy. Mr Spellar argued that the UK needed to have greater control over the construction of British Royal Navy support ships. The MP for Warley raised the point that major European industry nations ensure that their navy fleets are built in their own countries and that the UK should follow suit.
Mr Spellar began his criticism in Prime Minister Questions and said: “All the major European industrial nations insist that ships for their navy are built in their own yards.
“So as part of her own legacy can I urge the Prime Minister to be a good European and follow their example.
“And instruct the Ministry of Defence to build their new support vessels in British yards, securing British jobs and using British steel.”
Theresa May replied: “As he knows it is actually this Government that actually brought forward our shipbuilding strategy.
“We did this to ensure that we are supporting and encouraging shipbuilding around the UK.
“In relation to the Royal Navy obviously the issue that he refers to as I understand support ships.
“The Ministry of Defence is looking at the future provision of the building of those support ships in the future.
“We, of course, maintain our position in relation to the building of the Royal Navy.”
Frigate HMS Montrose which is permanently stationed in the Gulf is due to go to a Royal Navy base soon where it will remain for up to four weeks in order to refuel and restock.
To avoid a gap in the UK’s deployment, destroyer HMS Duncan is en route to the Gulf, expected to arrive next week.
In mid-September, HMS Kent will join the two warships protecting busy shipping lanes in the Gulf.
The MoD said it was part of long-standing Operation Kipion but there have been warnings Tehran may see the move as an escalation of an already tense situation.