Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard has reacted with horror to reports that the number of Royal Navy Type-26 frigates being ordered is being slashed from eight to three.
The Telegraph reports that the Government is considering not ordering any further Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates after the initial batch of three ships has been delivered.
However, a Ministry of Defence source told PlymouthLive the report was ‘fake news’.
Labour MP Luke Pollard, who is Vice-Chairman of the All Party Armed Forces Group, said: “Devonport was promised eight Type 26 Anti-submarine frigates to replace the current Type 23 frigates. Work is underway to prepare for the arrival of these world-class frigates that will secure Devonport’s future as a base for the Royal Navy’s surface fleet.
“If reports in the media today are correct then it looks like the Conservatives are intending to slash the orders from eight to just three Type 26 frigates. The Tories cut the order from 13 frigates to just eight when they came to power so we must not rule out that they won’t do it again.
“A further cut to just three Type 26 frigates will pose a genuine risk to our national security at a time when Russia is on the rise and China has territorial ambitions that threaten our allies.
“As I have warned for years the Type 31 light frigates, more akin to a corvette, do not have the war fighting capabilities or survivability of the new Type 26 frigates and certainly are not equipped to take on submarines in the Atlantic which is what the Type 26 are designed for.
“As Devonport’s MP I fought against the decision by Conservative Ministers to sell HMS Ocean and led the campaign to protect Devonport’s two amphibious assault ships from Tory cuts.
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“As a city we now need to prepare for a full-scale fight against new Government plans to slash frigate numbers and to defend our amphibious capabilities based in Devonport.
“Today’s article is a wake-up call for those who care about the Royal Navy and Devonport that Ministers must not be allowed to slash our ship numbers even further than they have already.”
However an MoD source says the revelation is “completely fake news”.
“I’d love to see evidence for these claims,” they said.