DEFENCE – TRIDENT – 2 September 2013

Dr Julian Lewis: In order that the Secretary of State does not keep having to tell us that he must not go above his pay grade, will he carry the message back to No. 10 that as Labour Front Benchers say they are willing to sign up to two of the four boats before the next election, and as the majority of people in this House would like to have that main-gate decision implemented at least in part, why should we not go ahead so that we cannot be blackmailed by the Liberal Democrats in the event of a hung Parliament after the general election?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond):  I understand my hon. Friend’s point of view. He has on other occasions raised the issue of entering into a contract for the submarines at an early stage. Our current way of managing our equipment programme is to enter into contracts with industry at the point at which projects are mature enough to enable us to secure the best possible value for money for the taxpayer. Entering into a contract at this stage, when the project is relatively immature, would not represent value for money.]