Devonport Task Group reconvenes to fight threat to assault ships


A high level Plymouth task group has met to spearhead a campaign to stop threatened cuts to two Devonport-based amphibious assault ships.

The Devonport Task Group has reconvened to protect HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark from the threat of being decommissioned by the Government.

There are rumours that the ships could go under a Government review of national security capabilities as part of the implementation of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The group, which comprises the Council’s leader and shadow leader, city MPs and senior representatives of key city organisations, agreed to set up an urgent meeting with the Defence Secretary to press the case for why the two Devonport base amphibious ships are essential to the UK’s defence.

It will also lead a public campaign to lobby for maintaining the ships, which are key to Plymouth being at the Royal Navy’s centre of amphibious capability as they are co-located with the Royal Marines in the city.

Councillor Ian Bowyer, Leader of the Council and chair of the Task Group, said: “This issue is of huge importance to the UK’s defence capability as well as to the future of Devonport, so it is vital that we work together as a city to fend off this threat.

“HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark play a key role the Royal Navy’s capability, enabling it to deliver the punch of the Royal Marines ashore by air and by sea, as well as humanitarian aid when needed.

“As well as lobbying Westminster we will be campaigning locally to encourage people to help make the case to Whitehall. Plymouth has a strong track record of working together to help protect our armed forces and we’ll be fighting hard to prevent these ships from being scrapped.”

Councillor Tudor Evans, shadow leader of the Council, said: “While the Government says potential cuts to HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark is speculation, we need to treat this seriously. Senior defence figures are also very concerned by this and we must act now and we must act together.”