Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that if the European airbus does not get off the drawing board, as seems likely in view of Lufthansa's attitude, the British aircraft industry and Rolls Royce will be in great difficulties if B.E.A. does not have the BAC211? Does he not agree that the RB211 is an engine which is much quieter than others and has a great sales potential if it is put into a British aircraft?
I certainly agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said about the RB211 and its potential export sales. I also agree that there is a very strong case for the 211. However, we have to take into account the fact that, in terms of launching costs to the Exchequer, of the various alternatives open to the Government and B.E.A. the BAC211 is by far the most expensive. Almost every hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Opposition benches yesterday said that in this new situation we ought to be cutting Government expenditure.
That is not the alternative that presents itself to the Government, because, whatever B.E.A. is allowed to buy, we have made it clear that it cannot buy American planes. It will buy British planes of one kind or another.