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Aircraft Carriers

Volume 400: debated on Wednesday 26 February 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the French government regarding the sale to France of UK aircraft carrier designs; and if he will make a statement. [93348]

[holding answer 27 January 2003]: We have made clear to the French Government our view that the best way forward for United Kingdom/French co-operation on a range of carrier issues is at the industry-to-industry level. To facilitate the transition to such industry-to-industry co-operation, three official groups have been established and their work has been carried forward since the France/United Kingdom summit on 4 February 2003 and the UK CVF down-selection decision. This work includes potential future co-operation on procurement issues and information interchange. The last such meeting took place on 13 February 2003. During the course of discussions, we have provided France with some basic design information, to help them decide the best way forward for their own programme.The carrier is also regularly mentioned in more general discussions between Ministers and other members of our two Ministries of Defence.