Grant Shapps Fails To Float Anyone's Boat With Bewildering New Pledge: 'None The Wiser'

The defence secretary's promise reminded many of an unfulfilled Boris Johnson pledge.
Defence secretary Grant Shapps has been torn apart over his promise to build six new ships.
Defence secretary Grant Shapps has been torn apart over his promise to build six new ships.
Wiktor Szymanowicz via Getty Images

Grant Shapps’s latest efforts to promote his government have turned into a bit of a shipwreck, judging from the online reaction.

The defence secretary was on the broadcast round this morning to discuss the “new golden age of British shipbuilding”.

He announced that the UK would be building 28 new ships and submarines for the Royal Navy, including “up to six new warships”.

But eagle-eyed critics on X (formerly Twitter) were quick to notice that Shapps was curiously inconsistent around the details.

For instance, the pledge sounded quite similar to another, relatively recent promise from the Conservatives – Boris Johnson’s famous vow to build up to 40 new hospitals.

Just last year, a review from parliament’s Public Accounts Committee concluded that it had “no confidence” the government would ever deliver on this promise.

People were also completely mystified over exactly how many ships were included in this promise.

Shapps said the government was looking to build 28 ships – but then changed it to “up to 28”.

Many critics also picked up on Shapps’s confusing conflation of the six ships the government promised to build two years ago and his current pledge.

He told journalists that the Tories had the “desire to” build these boats two years ago – but did not have the “means”.

He claimed that now the UK’s defence spending has increased, the government does have the means – and so will finally be following through on this two-year-old pledge. many is the government actually building? Social media seemed to decide it was anybody’s guess.


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