The MP for Torridge and West Devon has tried to allay fears over the future of Appledore Shipyard.

Last week GMB, the union for supbuilders, raised concerns that the shipyard was ‘on a cliff edge’ after the MoD’s announcement to pause bidding on type 31e Frigates.

The union claimed shipyard workers were having to make a four-hour-round trip to Devonport while there is no work at Appledore.

John Phillips, GMB regional secretary for Wales and South West, called on MP and new Attorey General, Geoffrey Cox, to throw his weight behind the shipyard.

He said: “Whilst GMB and other trade unions continue to work closely with Babcock, the government has just ramped up the uncertainty over these crucial British advanced manufacturing jobs in North Devon.

“Appledore is a fantastic facility and has shown with the hugely successful Irish OPV work that they can compete on quality and price with anywhere in the world, producing a credible defence export product.

“Following the government’s decision to put the new Fleet Sold Support (RFA) ships out to international tender, this is a further blow to British shipbuilding.

READ MORE: Union claims future of Appledore Shipyard is ‘on a cliff edge’

“The government likes to talk this process up as a renaissance for shipbuilding, in reality it’s more of a dark age.”

Mr Cox said he did not believe the pause on bidding would jeopardise the future of Appledore Shipyard.

He said: “While I recognise that this announcement will raise concern, I am assured that the pause to the procurement process will not jeopardise the Type 31e programme which is due to produce its first warship by 2023, the first of five Type 31e frigates for our Royal Navy.

“I look forward to the imminent launch of the new streamlined procurement process and shall do everything I can to support the highly skilled men and women working at Appledore Shipyard.

“I am in close touch with Babcock and I shall be holding discussions with my colleagues, the Secretaries of State for Defence and Business, about the timetable for the procurement and how the Government can further support Babcock in its efforts to secure overseas orders.”