Wednesday, 20 May 2009

So, this is what I asked the minister....

Dear Sir,

I was wondering if a future Conservative government had any plans or ideas for what was once DERA - the Defence Evaluation Research Agency? There were a lot of things which went wrong with the sell of in my opinion, not in least the sell of itself - why on earth would anyone sell such a strategic asset?
Do you intend to leave the status quo as it is or will attempts be made to claw back this rather precarious industry which QinetiQ has done a good job of completely marauding.

It seems like a paradox to be fighting two (well one I should say now) major conflicts yet not having the research to back it up, instead relying on the free market principle with regards to defence research. Would it furthermore be possible to know which Conservative party members voted for the proposal (I cannot seem to find this on the Internet) and which voted against, and the reasons put forth for proceeding in either manner?

Yours Sincerely

13th Spitfire


Dear Sir

You e-mailed the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox MP, on 1st May regarding the privatisation of DERA.

As the Shadow Minister for Defence Procurement I have been asked by Dr Fox to respond to you. As the headquarters of DERA was in my Aldershot constituency I am very familiar with the process and opposed the privatisation at the time. Indeed, as a member of the Defence Select Committee and with a background in International Banking, I led the examination which we held into the way in which the Government undertook the privatisation. The issue has been widely covered in the business press over the years and I have nothing really to add to that at this stage.

If we are returned to Office in the next 12 months, we have no plans to change the status of QinetiQ, but we are giving consideration as to whether further steps may need to be taken to ensure that the Government is in a position to be an "intelligent customer" and whether DSTL can continue to provide that role. There will all be matters which will be subject to consideration under the terms of the defence review which we plan to undertake immediately on assuming Office.

Finally, there was no vote on the privatisation of DERA, but the proceedings of the Defence Select Committee at the time are available on line and I am sure that you will be able to see from the reports of the evidence sessions what I said at the time.

I hope that this is helpful.

Best wishes

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