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

The two competitions that are likely in the immediate future—for the type 23 and the batch 2 Trafalgar class submarines—are imminent, so the competitive arrangements are likely to be in place in the event of either of those two bids proceeding. In the longer term—one is talking about, for example, project Horizon, which is the new generation frigate, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers) has just said—Yarrow will be a potential competitor, as it is today.

However, I would be the first to recognise that, although in the short term the MMC says that it does not think that there are implications for the existing orders in the existing yards, in the longer term there may be rationalisation, and that has always been the dilemma that has confronted Defence Secretaries or those of us interested in competition policy.