Labour's shadow armed forces minister has praised Stevenage's "vital and unique" contribution to UK defence after visiting the MBDA and Airbus sites in the town.

On March 12, MP Luke Pollard was joined by Labour parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, Kevin Bonavia, at MBDA to see Storm Shadow missiles – which have been given to Ukraine by the UK to support their war efforts against Russia.

They also met with trade union representatives and heard about MBDA’s work to support recruiting veterans and reservists.

At Airbus, Mr Pollard praised Stevenage’s contribution to the space sector, with the company manufacturing a third of global large telecoms satellites, which all start their life in Stevenage.

Mr Pollard's visit came after Defence secretary and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps warned voters that jobs in Stevenage could be at risk if Labour wins the upcoming general election.

The Comet: Mr Pollard speaks with staff at MBDA.Mr Pollard speaks with staff at MBDA. (Image: Guy Lucas-Bhana)

Labour's shadow armed forces minister was quick to praise the town's "vital and unique" contribution to UK defence, and pledged "British defence investment first to British business".

"Stevenage makes a unique and vital contribution to the UK’s defence and security, not least with the Storm Shadow missiles that are helping Ukraine to defend itself from Putin’s illegal and brutal invasion. Stevenage’s role in the UK space sector is just as impressive," said Mr Pollard.

"Labour is committed to strengthening our national defences and supporting our Armed Forces. Strong national defence is the secure foundation on which Labour’s mission-driven government will be built.

"We believe that defence procurement can strengthen UK sovereignty, security and economic growth. Labour sees our steel sector, shipyards, aerospace and materials industries, like those in Stevenage, as national assets.

The Comet: Mr Pollard and Mr Bonavia learned about the Storm Shadow missile at MBDA.Mr Pollard and Mr Bonavia learned about the Storm Shadow missile at MBDA. (Image: Guy Lucas-Bhana)

"A Labour Government will make it fundamental to direct British defence investment first to British business, with a higher bar set for any decisions to buy abroad."

Labour parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, Kevin Bonavia, added: "I am deeply proud that Stevenage is at the forefront of the defence and space sectors.

"Our town is home to cutting-edge talent, and I was delighted to invite Luke to see this first hand.

"Labour’s commitment to buy, sell, and make more in Britain is exactly what Stevenage needs. This means more well-paid and skilled jobs for local people, including award-winning apprenticeships for our next generation of innovators."