19 Jun 08. Defence Procurement: Debate. The House of Commons debated (19 Jun 08) Defence Procurement. Ministers confirmed that:-
* The seventh and eighth Type 45 destroyers are not to be ordered (see also Item 7).
* The Future Surface Combatant programme, to replace Type 22/23 frigates, is to be brought forward.
* Discussions continue on the Defence Training Review.
* Discussions on Typhoon Tranche 3 are expected to continue throughout 2008.
* The MoD intends to order seven Astute boats (i.e. an additional three SSN).
Comment: There was also considerable discussion about the merits of various armoured vehicles. The Debate is recorded in Hansard for 19 Jun 08, starting at Column 1121. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0825, 23 June 08)
27 June 08. A senior arms lobbyist is gaining access to ministers, MPs and peers inside Parliament using a research assistant pass allotted to a member of the House of Lords who benefits financially from one of his companies, The Independent has learnt. Robin Ashby, who is chairman of a defence consultancy firm that offers to ask questions of government on behalf of its clients “without your fingerprint being evident”, includes among his acquaintances the Defence Secretary, the Chancellor and the Chief Whip. Mr Ashby’s firm, Bergmans, lobbies on behalf of more than a dozen large defence and aerospace companies including BAE Systems, Northern Defence Industries, UK Defence Forum, Boeing and Rolls-Royce, which has been criticised for its past links to the Burmese regime. Mr Ashby’s name features on an official staff list that was published by the House of Lords for the first time last night following pressure from media outlets including The Independent. As Bergmans’ key lobbyist, Mr Ashby enjoys unfettered access to the Palace of Westminster. With his pass, he can bring several colleagues or members of the public into Parliament’s numerous entertainment venues, including the Lords’ terrace bar overlooking the Thames where he “frequently” meets Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, and other ministers. Mr Ashby can also use the pass, which is allotted to Baroness Harris of Richmond, to access the House of Commons library, which offers valuable research facilities at no cost. Lady Harris is a Liberal Democrat whip and spokesman on the police and Northern Ireland. She receives a “regular” income from a separate company run by Mr Ashby, Great North News Service, for which the peer acts as an “adviser”, according to her parliamentary declaration of financial interests. Meanwhile her “researcher” gains access to the Palace of Westminster’s corridors of power and a string of top-level ministers. (Source: Independent)
Lords Hansard 24 June 2008
Tuesday 24 June 2008
Armed Forces: Cyber Attacks
Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty’s Government: Whether they are satisfied that United Kingdom Armed Forces are sufficiently resourced to counter cyber attacks. [HL4295]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The MoD has deployed a range of defences to counter attacks from known threats against its networks. However, the department is not complacent and continues to develop these defences in reaction to the daily changing and increasing threat.
Commons Hansard 26 June 2008
European Fighter Aircraft
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Eurofighter Typhoons are now in service with the RAF; when the remainder are scheduled to enter service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: 49 Tranche 1 aircraft are now in service with the RAF. Deliveries from Tranche 2 (91 aircraft) are planned to commence in September 2008 and to continue until 2013-14. Negotiations with Partner Nations and industry on Tranche 3 are under way and expected to continue throughout this year.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State