Dr Julian Lewis: On fleet solid support ships, we on the Defence Committee are a little bit worried that it is being presented to us and to the country that the Government have no choice but to run a competition. However, other countries, such as France, have built such ships without running competitions, and have classed them as warships. We worry about what, for example, Rosyth dockyard will do between the completion of the Prince of Wales and the first refit of the Queen Elizabeth. Building such ships would be a perfect way of maintaining that capability. We hope these wider considerations are being taken into account.
The Minister for the Armed Forces (Mark Lancaster): Indeed; that is a perfectly reasonable point. My right hon. Friend wrote to the Minister with responsibility for defence procurement, my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), with many of these questions on 26 February. Hopefully he now has a reply, because the Minister replied yesterday.
Dr Lewis: I have not seen it yet.
Mark Lancaster: In that case, without going through the letter, I assure my right hon. Friend that it answers his questions, so far as I am concerned. ...
[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]