Hawk Contract

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 29th October 2001.

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Photo of Michael Jack Michael Jack Conservative, Fylde 2:30 pm, 29th October 2001

If he will make a statement on the ways in which the Department is helping BAE Systems in its representations to the Government of India on the Hawk contract.

Photo of Dr Lewis Moonie Dr Lewis Moonie Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Veterans)

Ministers and officials continue to take every opportunity to support BAE Systems' proposals for the supply of the Hawk to India. Negotiations between the company and the Indian Government continue.

Photo of Michael Jack Michael Jack Conservative, Fylde

At a time when aerospace workers at BAE Systems in my constituency are rejoicing at the news of the joint strike fighter announcement, they have not forgotten that the contract with India seems to have been marched up to the top of the hill of agreement and down again at least half a dozen times in the recent past.

I pay tribute to the Secretary of State for doing much to represent the interest of our aerospace workers in the contractual discussions with the Indian Government. However, can the Minister give any idea of the likely timing of the Indian Government's further commitment to and consideration of the project?

Photo of Dr Lewis Moonie Dr Lewis Moonie Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Veterans)

I greatly sympathise with the workers in the Hawk factory, but I cannot enlighten the right hon. Gentleman much further. We are making every effort to persuade the Indian Government to take up the contract, and we are well aware of its importance to the workers in his constituency.