The leader of Durham County Council is calling for cross party support to help protect the future of a Royal Navy ship affiliated with the county.

Potential defence cuts could see Plymouth-based ship HMS Bulwark decommissioned along with its sister ship HMS Albion, although no decisions have yet been made.

Cllr Simon Henig is now calling on councillors from all parties to support a campaign which has been launched by Plymouth City Council to save the ships.

“The longstanding relationship between Durham and HMS Bulwark is very important to our county and we were honoured to grant its crew the Freedom of the City in 2010,” he said.

“We have always taken great pride in welcoming the company to Durham and we know hundreds of people have enjoyed turning out to watch their Freedom Parades in recent years.

“While the future of these vessels remains uncertain, I would urge everyone to do what they can to help protect HMS Bulwark and its sister ship HMS Albion.”

The last freedom parade took place in 2016, when the ship’s company paraded through Durham city as part of a visit to the region which renewed affiliations and friendships with the county.

The two Landing Platform Dock ships are designed to put Royal Marines ashore by air and by sea. They can also provide humanitarian aid where needed.

Both ships can carry 256 troops with vehicles and equipment, four landing craft carrying up to 120 personnel each and 30 all-terrain vehicles or six challenger tanks.

To show your support for the campaign visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202588