Doubts remain after Blair pledge on base
TONY BLAIR has effectively declared Portsmouth naval base is safe from total closure.

But his warm words have failed to convince many that the base might not suffer a lingering death of a thousand spending cuts as defence chiefs seek to make massive savings.
The prime minister has repeatedly declared in recent days that it would be unthinkable for the home of the navy to be closed down.
Mr Blair's remarks, apparently safeguarding Portsmouth, Plymouth and Faslane from closure, come ahead of the publication of the outcome of a review into the three bases, ordered by the government, by defence top brass.
Speaking to the people of Plymouth ahead of a two-day visit to the south-west, he said: 'The trouble is whenever they do any of these naval reviews you get understandable concern about them.
'But our major naval bases are essential for our country.
'To me it's inconceivable that you could do without your major bases.'
Mr Blair, expected to step down as prime minister within months, added: 'That's not to say you won't look for how you use them more effectively and so on.
'But Portsmouth and Plymouth, and indeed Faslane, have played an enormous part in defending our country for years.'
The PM's apparent pledge is to keep the bases open but many fear that bad news could still be on the way.
Defence economist Mike Asteris said: 'What this does is completely rule out 100 per cent closure of any one base – which politically might be a very dangerous thing to do.
'Downsizing would be a more attractive proposition.
'In a sense this is good news for Portsmouth.
'This does at least mean Portsmouth will have some sort of role to play, but the question is still what that might be.'
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, a member of the Commons defence select committee, has written to the prime minister demanding that he also pays a visit to the Portsmouth base, as well as defence secretary Des Browne who is visiting next week.
He said: 'I think we should take Mr Blair at his word but the real test now is what sort of role the base will have, how many employees will there be, and whether this will affect Portsmouth's status as the home of the navy.
'We are not just talking about today's jobs, but tomorrow's too and even the next five years.
'We want to put things together to ensure stability for the next 25 years.'

So- is it staying open or not???!!! :evil:


They will in all probability all stay open , but with a much smaller roll for each to play , moth ball half the fleet and most of the work drys up just like that , so sad realy , the mind boggles at the implications ,

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