National Shipbuilding Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:42 pm on 10th March 2022.

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Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 12:42 pm, 10th March 2022

The right hon. Gentleman and I did have a discussion across this Dispatch Box regarding the order, and his intuition proved correct. There was a competition process, and he proved to be correct in his assumption, although I emphasise that that was not a new build of a new vessel, but a requirement for the Royal Navy to have an existing vessel that it could practise some new developments on. It went into the market as a competition and that is how it ended. They fine-tuned the competition to ensure that it was fully fair, and we got that result.

I know the right hon. Gentleman has been a regular advocate of an FSS build in this country. FSS is proceeding and it will be substantially built. I am trying to remember exactly when the two years starts—I believe it is two years from the start of the manufacturing phase but, if it is not, I will write to him and leave a note in the Library.

On the point about the WTO rules, we do not take them lightly and it is right that we work within them, but that does not mean that we do not do everything in our power to maximise the benefits to British shipbuilding. That is what the National Shipbuilding Office has been set up to do, and that is what this refresh is about: whether on shore, on the home shipbuilding guarantee or on skills, we must ensure that we win, that we succeed and that we can compete with and be just as productive as other northern European yards.