New Forest East


[Mike Hancock: Month after month, I am depressed by the indecision and the briefings that are given or the leaks that are allowed to be made, especially about the aircraft carrier programme. One minute it is on, the next minute it may be off, or it is being reconsidered, reorganised or delayed. What effect do Ministers think that sort of indecision has on the morale of the work force in Portsmouth who have been loyal to the Ministry of Defence and the national interest for generations, and whose city's main industrial backbone is based on support for the MOD?]

Dr Julian Lewis: Unusually, I have to say that the hon. Gentleman is being unfair to the Government. I am a Front-Bench spokesman on defence and I have heard the Government say over and over again that the carriers will go ahead, so for once I feel that he is being unduly alarmist.

[Mr Hancock: I am convinced in my heart that the carriers will go ahead, but why do the Government allow the speculation to continue?]