Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Minister for Portsmouth job scrapped

Mark Francois Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Previous minister for Portsmouth Mark Francois left government in Theresa May's reshuffle

The job of minister for Portsmouth has been scrapped, it has been confirmed.

The role was created in 2014 after 1,000 jobs were lost in the city when naval shipbuilding moved to Scotland.

Former minister Mark Francois left in the recent reshuffle and Downing Street has not made a new appointment.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said it would "work alongside local leaders to ensure Portsmouth and the Solent has a strong voice in government".

'Feisty women'

Last week, Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said the role was no longer needed.

She said she and fellow city MP Penny Mordaunt were "feisty women" who were "very capable of lobbying Parliament".

A DCLG spokesman said: "Portsmouth's importance to England can never be underestimated and the role of minister for Portsmouth was created to support the city through the economic challenges it immediately faced following the restructuring of BAE systems.

"Since then the minister secured additional funding for key projects in the city such as the £6.5m investment in the Land Rover BAR headquarters and as a result Portsmouth's economy is thriving.

"We will continue to work alongside local leaders to ensure Portsmouth and the Solent has a strong voice in Government."

The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Donna Jones, previously said she thought the role had "served its purpose well" but was "no longer required".

"Now Portsmouth is able to stand and thrive on its own two feet and look to the future," she said.

The post was first held by current Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

Image caption Flick Drummond (left) said she and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt were capable of lobbying the government on behalf of the city

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