TWO local authorities which this summer staked a claim to the iconic QE2 have come together to bring the ship home.

Both West Dunbartonshire Council and Inverclyde Council have joined Scottish Government agencies to form the new QE2 Working Group, which ultimately aims to see the QE2 returned to the Clyde.

The organisation was established after Clydesiders learned the QE2 was languishing in a dock in Dubai. It had been bought by a developer in 2009 who had planned to transform the ship into a luxury floating hotel.

The plans failed to materialise however and the quickening deterioration of the QE2 lead to a campaign to bring her back to the community in which she was built.

Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe wrote to the Scottish Government earlier this year asking for national support to bring the QE2 to Greenock.

And West Dunbartonshire Councillor Gail Casey last week put a motion before the council in which she asked the local authority to also write to the Scottish Government, urging it to “recognise the historical and emotional significance” the QE2 has for the people of Clydebank.

The motion, which was passed, also asked the government to provide funding for a feasibility study to ascertain whether or not it is possible to bring the ship back to Clydebank.

But at the first meeting of the QE2 Working Group, on Wednesday, August 26, it was agreed it was too early for a study.

Instead members set out their two immediate aims. That is to identify if the QE2 is actually for sale and secondly what condition it is in.

Representatives of Scottish Development International based in Dubai will be tasked with making contact with the Dubai authorities, believed to still be owners of the company which bought the former Cunard liner.

Chairing the working group was Inverclyde Council’s environment and regeneration director, Aubrey Fawcett.

He said: “The current state of the QE2 has not been established beyond the initial reports and there has been silence from the key contacts in Dubai on whether it is even up for sale. We need to establish that and having the local contacts of Scottish Enterprise through Scottish Development International’s offices in Dubai will help to establish a clear picture.” Only when these two key questions are answered will there be a discussion about where on the Clyde the QE2 could be positioned.

The people of Clydebank, the home of the former John Brown’s Shipyard where the QE2 was built, say the town is the ship’s natural home. Campaigners in Greenock say its large dock means it is better equipped to host the massive vessel. Both local authorities see a restored QE2 as a tourist attraction with international appeal.

Councillor Casey said: “The council decision still stands so we will write and ask the Scottish Government to consider funding a feasibility study but the setting up of a working group is a very positive move as we need to build up a partnership approach to this important project and we are happy to participate in the working group.” Members of the QE2 Working Group include representatives from Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire councils; regeneration company, Riverside Inverclyde; The Scottish Government; VisitScotland; Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International.