BAE Systems

Part of Backbench Business — [Un-allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:03 pm on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 1:03 pm, 24th November 2011

It is good to see a constituency Member in the Chair for this important debate, Mr Deputy Speaker, and I will do my best to be as brief as the complex issues raised allow.

May I say how much I enjoyed both speeches that we have heard? My right hon. Friend Mr Davis seized the opportunity for this Back-Bench debate with his usual skill and aplomb, and he spoke with passion and conviction; and Alan Johnson spoke movingly and thoughtfully. The company would do very well to listen to the concerns that they both expressed.

I must emphasise, however, the deep regret that the Government and I, personally, feel at the job losses that BAE Systems announced on 27 September. Such decisions, I hope, are never taken lightly by companies, and we fully recognise the very real impact that they will have on local industry and individual livelihoods. I emphasise also—it is clear from the debate so far—that the decision was a commercial one, made by the company, which explained that it was necessary to maintain competitiveness both in the UK and internationally. This debate is testing that rationale.