Labour calls on David Cameron to show leadership in supporting the UK defence industry as it is revealed that he has not spoken to the Indian Government about the Typhoon bid since French company Dassault were named preferred bidder ten days ago.
The Prime Minister has revealed in a Written Answer to Alison Seabeck MP that he has not spoken to the Indian Government since November last year. See below for further details.
David Cameron said he would do “everything I can”, but has made no direct representations to the Indian Government. Labour has supported the Government to date but believe the Prime Minister must now demonstrate real support for the industry and do more to promote this important bid.
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, said:
“We supported the Government’s efforts until it became clear they haven’t made any.
“It is incredible that while President Sarkozy has played a role flying the flag for French companies David Cameron has been no more than a spectator.
“British companies expect better from a British Prime Minister.”
Alison Seabeck MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Minister, said:
“This is a disappointing response from a Prime Minister who has failed to go in to bat for British industry and British jobs at a time of economic uncertainty.
“Yes, David Cameron visited India in 2010, but that was 18 months ago. Whilst the French government was doing all that it could to secure a multi-billion pound contract for their industries, David Cameron was nowhere to be seen despite his Government claiming that ministers should be doing their utmost to support British based industries.
“Hundreds of thousands of British jobs depend on our defence industries and their suppliers. Hard-working families and struggling businesses will not thank the Prime Minister for his complacency.”
Written Parliamentary Questions
Alison Seabeck MP: When he last discussed, with the Indian Prime Minister, about the bid by BAe Systems to sell the Typhoon to India?
Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her at Prime Minister’s Questions today. (Hansard 8th Feb, 305w)
Exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions, (Hansard 8th Feb, 302):
Alison Seabeck (Plymouth, Moor View) (Lab): We have heard from the Prime Minister how the Italian and German Governments are out there fighting for British jobs. Will he tell us exactly how many phone conversations he had directly with the Indian Prime Minister about the Typhoon bid, and when the last conversation took place?
The Prime Minister: I raised this issue with the Indian Prime Minister repeatedly on my visit to India, and indeed at the G20 in Cannes.