Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said no other industry has as much certainty as shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Mr Fallon made the comments as he moved to allay union concerns over future Navy orders.

With work on a new type 31e frigate to be opened to bids, Unite said it was "not sure" it could trust government promises on future orders.

Sir Michael dismissed union concerns, saying he has "kept faith" with the Clyde, which has 20 years of guaranteed work under the type 26 programme:

"No other industry in Britain has as much certainty as those who work in shipbuilding."

"There's 20 years of work guaranteed for the Clyde now and BAE Systems are teaming up with Cammell Laird to bid for the type 31 as well.

"It will be a powerful bid combining the skills and expertise here with Cammell Laird but there will be other bidders as well, and other yards, but I expect a very strong bid from BAE-Cammel Laird and that means the skills here on the Clyde will be re-employed again."

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr McPhee, Unite officer at BAE Systems on the Clyde, said competition between yards for Navy contracts was dangerous:

"The national shipbuilding strategy has changed. This work should have been concentrated in Glasgow. It should have been 13 frigates. Now it is down to eight.

"The government is trying to introduce a failed policy for complex naval ships, which is to have open competition within a country.

"None of our peer countries do that - France, Italy, Spain, Germany, certainly the US. They have what is called a national champion to provide complex naval ships.

"We had this failed policy in the past.

"If we go back to the 1980s, we had internal competition where shipyards went bust taking on contracts that they couldn't deliver."

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon with Lady Wendy Fallon at HMS Medway

Sir Michael was speaking at the official naming HMS Medway in Scotstoun, where his wife, Lady Wendy Fallon, was the ship's sponsor:

"This year we have already named our second aircraft carrier, two Type 26 frigates and the first in the Offshore Patrol Vessel class.

"It is a privilege to see yet another ship named for the growing Royal Navy.

"Named after Kent’s main river, my family has taken a particular interest in HMS Medway over the course of its construction and this is a proud day for all involved."

The naming continues an association between the Royal Navy and the River Medway which, as home to the Chatham Historic Dockyard, has existed since Elizabethan times.

Lady Fallon broke a bottle of gin on the bow in honour of the Chatham dockyard, where the gin was distilled.

The 90-metre ship is expected to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2019 and will go on to deploy across the globe on counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling operations.

Naming of HMS Medway. CREDITS: MoD/Royal Navy

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