19 Sep 12. New Inquiry: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Foreign Affairs Committee announced (19 Sep 12) a new Inquiry into foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Among the areas to be considered is the balance of UK interests in Defence, commerce, energy security, counter terrorism and human rights. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/37, 24 Sep 12)
25 Sep 12. The Committees publish questions to the Government relating to the arms export licence decisions for January – March 2012
As part of its scrutiny of the Government’s arms export controls, the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) analyse the information about arms export licence decisions made available by the Government quarterly. The Government’s quarterly reports are made in two sections. Section A is public material published on the website of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Section B is restricted material provided to the Committees on Arms Export Controls. The Committees questions, quarter by quarter, relating to public material, together with the Government’s quarter by quarter answers, were published in full in the Committees’ latest Report (HC 419-I) at Annex 1 for the period July 2010 to September 2011. The Committees are today publishing their questions relating to the Section A public material for the first Quarter of 2012. These are attached. The Committees have sent their questions relating to the Section B restricted material for this Quarter to the Government separately.
The Chairman of the Committees, Sir John Stanley, said, “The Committees are continuing their present practice of making public as early as possible their questions on the Government’s quarter by quarter information on its arms export licence decisions which the Government makes public. With regard to the January-March 2012 Quarter, which is the period covered by the Committees’ latest questions, the Committees have raised questions on the Government’s arms export licence decisions relating to Argentina, Bahrain, Burma, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Israel, Libya, Russia, Sri Lanka and Syria amongst other countries.”
24 Sep 12. The Defence Committee is today announcing its inquiry into the possible merger of BAE Systems with EADS. BAE Systems and EADS operate highly capable and sensitive defence businesses in many countries including the UK, the USA, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and Australia. The merger of two such large defence contractors would have a significant and strategic impact on their relationships with UK, US and European Governments. It could also radically alter the defence industrial base in these countries.
The inquiry will examine the likely impact of such a merger on UK defence including the protection of sovereign capabilities and the nature of the defence industrial base. The Committee is particularly concerned to examine:
* The protection of UK sovereign capabilities;
* The future relationship between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems given the existing complex relationship and how the most sensitive projects will be handled;
* The effects of any merger or effective complex takeover arrangement for the current UK defence acquisition policies set out in the White Paper “National Security Through Technology”, in particular, competition;
* The consequences for UK and joint venture defence exports;
* The impact of such a merger on the MoD rationalisation of the warship-building industry and the MoD’s consequent agreement with BAE Systems;
* The particular relationships with the USA including the development of the Joint Strike Fighter and continuing access to US technology;
* Relationships with European allies given the current arrangements that EADS has with some European Governments;
* The consequences of any merger for UK trade and defence treaties with the USA, France and others;
* The impact of such a merger on the structure of the UK defence industrial base;