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Could new plan for warships be a boost for North West shipyards in Barrow and Merseyside?

North West shipyards are hoping for a boost after news that Britain's new fleet of frigates could be built in blocks at various locations up and down the country.

The multi million pound warships will then be assembled at a central site.

New plan for assembling warships could boost shipbuilding at Cammell Laird Credit: PA

Both Cammell Laird and Barrow have a rich shipbuilding tradition. The warships could be built in blocks across several British shipyards and then assembled at a central hub, the Defence Secretary has announced.

Sir Michael Fallon said the first batch of new Type 31e frigates would be built with the export market in mind, with the UK shipbuilding industry potentially serving both the Royal Navy and navies of allies and partners.

The Queen launching the new Ark Royal in 1950 at Cammell Laird Credit: PA

As part of this approach, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the first batch of five Type 31e frigates could be built across different shipyards, before being assembled at a central site. Their cost would be capped at no more than 250 million each.

The frigates are due to be in service by 2023 and shipyards would be encouraged to ensure the vessel was competitive on the global market by working with "global partners".

Barrow shipyard - work on submarine at Bae Systems Credit: PA

The plans form part of a new national shipbuilding strategy which accepts the recommendations of an independent report into the industry by Sir John Parker, the chairman of mining giant Anglo American.

In November, Sir John said the Navy fleet was being depleted by a "vicious cycle" of old ships retained beyond their sell-by date, and found that the procurement of naval ships took too long from concept to delivery compared with other industries.

He recommended a "sea change", with "pace and grip" from the Government so that shipyards across the UK could compete to win work and create jobs.

Workers hoping for a brighter future at Cammell Laird Birkenhead Credit: PA

This new approach will lead to more cutting-edge ships for the growing Royal Navy that will be designed to maximise exports and be attractive to navies around the world.

Backed up by a commitment to spend billions on new ships, our plan will help boost jobs, skills and growth in shipyards and the supply chain across the UK.

– Sir Michael Fallon

The separation of the building work for the new frigates reflects the approach taken for the Navy's biggest ever ship, the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The MoD said the ship was built in blocks by more than 10,000 people in six British cities, before being assembled in Rosyth in Scotland, then commencing sea trials in June and arriving in her home port of Portsmouth last month.

The method was also used to build British polar research ship, RRS Sir David Attenborough, which the majority of respondents to an online poll famously wanted to name Boaty McBoatface.

I am very impressed by the courage that the Secretary of State has shown - and the Government - in adopting my recommendations, which were very extensive, and will change the shape of naval shipbuilding over the country in the future.

The next challenge is to come up with a world-leading design; one that can satisfy the needs of the Royal Navy and the export market.

We have the capability to do that, the will is there and it is a tremendous opportunity for UK shipbuilding.

I see no reason why industry will not rise to that challenge.

There is an incredible keenness from around the country, from Scotland to Merseyside, to the South West and over to Belfast.

– Sir John Parker, the chairman of mining giant Anglo American.

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Jailed shipyard worker takes fight for justice to Europe

A former shipyard worker from Aintree jailed after an industrial dispute thirty years ago is taking his fight to clear his name to the European Parliament.

Eddie Marnell is one of 37 men arrested at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead during a strike over redundancies in 1984.

Cammell Laird is now an entirely different company under different management.

But Eddie has won the right to have his petition considered in Brussels.

Daniel Hewitt reports.

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Project on time

Part of the country's biggest-ever warship will float down the River Mersey this afternoon.

Five blocks of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth have been built at the Cammell Laird ship yard in Birkenhead.

They will be moved on a massive barge to Scotland, where they will be pieced together.Project manager John Drummond is pleased the first phase of the two year project has been completed on time.