BAE Systems

Part of Backbench Business — [Un-allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 12:27 pm on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden 12:27 pm, 24th November 2011

There is another side to the coin, but since my hon. Friend draws me on that point, I am afraid that on one side there is a pound, and on the other there is a ha’penny. I was the Public Accounts Committee Chairman for five years, and I looked at the issue in close detail, and I have to tell him that the Americans are far more aggressive and effective than we are when it comes to protection of their intellectual property.

The proposals have all sorts of strategic implications. One of the things that we looked at 10 years ago—I am probably not breaking too many secrets—was the advanced medium-range air-to-air missile. We were not even allowed technological knowledge of AMRAAM because of the Americans’ defences, and that made it less effective for us. This is quite an area of battle. Indeed, the previous Defence Secretary made quite an issue of this, as my hon. Friend Mr Ellwood will know, and will understand only too well. We have not fought our corner very well, and I am afraid that BAE Systems is culpable, as part of that. It has been very poor in terms of its strategic decisions on civil and military aviation, and when it comes to protecting our intellectual property.