Hunter blasts Brown over BAE blunder

October 14, 2009 4:07 PM
Mark is working hard for the future of the BAe site in Wooford

Mark is working hard for the future of the BAe site in Wooford

Today (Wednesday 14 October) Cheadle MP Mark Hunter put Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the spot over the future of the Nimrod project based at Woodford in his constituency. The MP, who has long campaigned for new orders from the MOD for the Nimrod, asked the PM to explain why the Government had decided to buy an American alternative (40 year old Boeing aircraft) instead.

In response to Mr Hunter's challenge at Prime Minister's Questions today, Gordon Brown denied any decisions had been made and promised to write to the Cheadle MP.

This follows an earlier letter from Defence Minister Quentin Davies which confirmed that BAE would not be given an extension to prepare a detailed bid, leaving the US alternative as the only serious solution.

BAE more recently confirmed their intention to close the Woodford site in 2012, despite Mr Hunter and other local MPs lobbying Government for additional aircraft which could have kept the site open beyond 2012.

Speaking after Prime Minister's Questions, Mark said:

"I do hope that the Prime Minister is not raising false hopes because, on the face of it, what he said today represents a Government U-turn.

"Whilst this would be welcome, given the 1000 plus jobs at stake, the issue is too important for any political games.

"Although there is a major public meeting at Woodford Community Centre tomorrow evening to discuss the future use of the site, I will continue to fight for the interests of all those currently employed there.

"The PM's answer today may just have given fresh hope that we can get new orders into Woodford and preserve the jobs a little longer."

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