Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Navy frigates to stay at Devonport and Portsmouth bases

The Royal Navy's surface ships, including Type 23 frigates, will continue to be based at both Devonport and Portsmouth naval bases.

Defence minister Gerald Howarth ended speculation that seven vessels currently based in Plymouth could have been transferred to the Hampshire base.

He said frigates would remain at both bases "for the foreseeable future".

He said the announcement would provide "a period of stability" both for naval personnel and industrial partners.

He made the announcement earlier in a debate at Westminster Hall.

Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Oliver Colvile, said the announcement was a "major step forward" and efforts would now focus on attracting contracts for the planned next generation of frigates - the Type 26 - to Devonport.

Earlier HMS Cornwall returned to Plymouth for the last time. The vessel, which had been on a six-month deployment conducting counter piracy operations near Suez, is the last of four Devonport warships to be scrapped.

The government announced in December that four Type 22 frigates were to be decommissioned under the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

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