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Defence Procurement

Volume 513: debated on Monday 5 July 2010

Out of the 57 equipment-related projects that were subject to re-approval as part of the exercise announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 17 May, two projects—the search and rescue helicopter project, and the procurement of long-lead items for the successor deterrent—have been suspended pending the outcome of urgent ongoing reviews. However, all projects, including those that have been re-approved, are being considered as part of the strategic defence and security review.

Does my hon. Friend believe that it is in the best interests of our armed forces that senior officials involved in preparing MOD contracts are regularly recruited to work for the contractor and lobby Government on its behalf?

Like my hon. Friend, I have severe doubts about that particular practice, and I can assure him that I am watching it very carefully.

Can the Minister tell the House when he expects to agree the contract signed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Coventry North East (Mr Ainsworth) for the A400M, which is built in Bristol and serviced in north Wales? Twenty-two planes with 22 sets of wings are under contract by the Labour Government, but they have been frozen by the Conservative-Liberal Government.

I wish I could answer the right hon. Gentleman’s question at length, but all I can say is that the A400M, like all other major projects, is part of the strategic defence and security review—the long overdue strategic defence and security review.