Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:22 pm on 23rd May 1995.

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Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers , Gosport 4:22 pm, 23rd May 1995

Bearing in mind the fact that the market for warships has inevitably shrunk in recent years; that, increasingly, the electronic and support systems of warships are becoming proportionately more important, so the hulls are becoming less important in the manufacture of warships; that there are other yards where warships—steel ships—can be built, including Vosper Thornycroft, which has been extremely successful in recent years, and indeed Harland and Wolff; and bearing in mind the increasing internationalisation of defence procurement regarding issues such as the Horizon frigate, does my right hon. Friend agree that it would have been unwise and artificial to prevent VSEL merging with the company that eventually emerges as the most successful of those bidding for it, and that that would not have been a wise way to proceed in international competition?