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Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart has hosted a constituency visit to the Ministry of Defence Munitions site at Longtown from Peter Luff MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. The Minister was met by Rory Stewart and his colleagues John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, and David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale in a three-hour site visit that included lunchtime meetings with staff and Trade Union representatives, County and City Council executives, and local councillors.
The meeting was the culmination of the local MPs' strenuous lobbying efforts, which have been ongoing for over two years. This has involved numerous meetings with staff and Trade Union representatives themselves, the Minister Peter Luff, and officials within both the MoD and the Weapons Inspectorate.
Mr. Stewart said: "We have one goal, which is the retention of the site at Longtown. It fulfils an invaluable role, not only to our defence systems nationally, but to the local economy, employing significant proportion of residents in the Longtown, Carlisle and Gretna areas. Three-hundred jobs are at risk which, proportionately would be a huge loss to our local economy. However, above all, this is an extremely important site logistically, in terms of its capabilities, the expertise deployed by a staff - with a very low
turnover - and its important infrastructure links.
"To close the site seems short-sighted and inflexible; the MoD have operated a successful site here for many years, and it is the backbone of Longtown's economy. I trust that the Minister has been able to see, today, the clear arguments for its survival, and we are hopeful for a positive outcome. We have certainly done our best today to highlight the site's
benefits, and will not tire in our campaign to see the site stay and thrive in Longtown for many more years."