New defence secretary Penny Mordaunt will be good news for Barrow shipyard, MP John Woodcock has claimed.
The independent MP revealed he worked closely with Ms Mordaunt, who represents the naval city of Portsmouth, on making the case for Trident submarine renewal when they both entered Parliament in 2010.
Welcoming the former Secretary of State for International Development to her new position from the shock sacking of Gavin Williamson, Mr Woodcock said: “Penny Mordaunt as Defence Secretary should be good news for Barrow shipyard and I am really looking forward to working with her again. She’s been a staunch supporter of continuous at-sea deterrence delivered by Barrow-built submarines since we entered parliament together in 2010.
“I know that Penny will provide level-headed commitment to keeping the Dreadnought project on track and that she will continue Gavin Williamson’s shift towards providing adequate up-front funding of the submarine programme, rather than the current hand-to-mouth awards that have been provided so far which are causing significant increases to overall costs.
“To the former defence secretary’s credit, he has worked hard to ensure that the Dreadnought programme received the resources it needs to keep our nation safe and I wish him well after his brutal sacking.
“But there continues to be a finely balanced race to complete the new boats before the ageing Vanguard-class is no longer seaworthy. Under Penny’s leadership, I hope that Ministry will put a renewed effort into delivering the Dreadnought-class on time and on budget and I look forward to meeting her soon.”
Mr Williamson was fired by the Prime Minister yesterday evening, following an investigation into a leak from the National Security Council, a body of senior cabinet ministers tasked with overseeing UK national security, intelligence and defence, about the government’s decision to involve Chinese technology company Huawei in the development of the UK’s 5G network.
He had held the post of Defence Secretary since November 2017 and had previously held the role of Chief Government Whip.
The leaked decision has, in recent days, elicited serious criticism from major allies, including the US, in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence sharing network and the US has threatened to review its intelligence sharing arrangements with countries involved Huawei in their national infrastructure.
It was also announced last night that Rory Stewart, fellow Cumbrian MP for Penrith and the Borders and former prisons minister, will replace Penny Mordaunt at the Department for International Development.
Mr Woodcock added: “I am really pleased for Rory – his intelligence, passion and courtesy make him a pleasure to work with on Cumbria issues and I hope he thrives in this important role.”