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

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Photo of Mr Michael Heseltine Mr Michael Heseltine President of the Board of Trade 4:22 pm, 23rd May 1995

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who represents the constituency in which Vosper is based. I have had the pleasure of visiting that company and, as everyone is, I was much impressed by the work that is going on there.

My hon. Friend makes an important argument about the nature of the purchaser of large defence procurement orders of that type. The purchaser will insist on the break-up of the contract into very large numbers of individual parts, to ensure that there is competition between subcontractors for specific items, amounting to a very large proportion of the total contract.

The Ministry of Defence is expert at doing that. It must face British Aerospace, which is the only source of our military fighter aircraft. It must deal with Rolls-Royce, which is the key supplier of engines for the defence budget. So the Ministry of Defence is very experienced at ensuring that it obtains value for money compatible with the quality that it wants.