07 May 20. Defence Committee to question experts on defence procurement and prosperity on May 12th. The Defence Committee will be taking oral evidence from two panels of experts, including the former Minister for Defence Procurement Rt Hon. Philip Dunne MP, on the topic of defence procurement and prosperity. This evidence session will explore the effectiveness of the MoD’s approach to procurement and prosperity, providing an overview of the relationship between the MoD and industry. The session will also explore the gaps between policy and implementation and assess the progress made since the publication of Philip Dunne’s recommendations in his report ‘Growing the contribution of Defence to UK Prosperity’ in 2018. The session will discuss the impact of Covid-19 on current programmes.
This evidence session forms part of the Committee’s inquiry ‘Procurement and Prosperity’ and is the first session of this inquiry since its relaunch and the formation of the new Parliament. This inquiry is examining the MoD’s defence industrial policy, exploring the procurement policy in relation to UK prosperity as well as the MoD’s impact on the defence supply chain.
- Professor Trevor Taylor, Professorial Research Fellow in Defence Management, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
- Francis Tusa, Defence journalist, Defence Analysis
- Sir Mark Poffley KCB OBE, former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability) at MoD (2016-18)
- Rt Hon. Philip Dunne MP, former Minister for Defence Procurement (2015-16), author of ‘Growing the contribution of defence to UK prosperity’
06 May 20. Defence Committee: Chair Tobias Ellwood writes to MoD seeking clarity on legislation on the prosecution of service personnel and veterans. The Chair of the Defence Committee, the Rt Hon. Tobias Ellwood MP, has written to the Ministry of Defence following their response to the Committee’s report from the last Parliament: ‘Drawing a line – Protecting Veterans by a Statute of Limitations’. The Committee is publishing a Special Report in response.
This report concluded that the legal framework underpinning military operations is unclear, that service personnel should be protected by a qualified Statute of Limitations from repeated investigation and prosecution, and that legislation on the issue should be subject to enhanced parliamentary scrutiny.
The Defence Committee is calling for further clarity from the MoD on a number of issues, including:
- The likelihood that the provisions set out in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill will lead to prosecutions.
- Whether the factors outlined in the Overseas Operations Bill are comprehensive enough for a prosecutor to take a decision to prosecute.
- The likelihood of successful appeal in the event that the Attorney General refuses to grant consent for prosecution.
- The Government’s strategy in the case of a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that new legislation conflicts with our Convention obligations.
- Whether discussions have taken place with the International Criminal Court.
- What discussions the Government has had with parties in Northern Ireland.
The report, and subsequent correspondence, follow debate surrounding the prosecution of service personnel and veterans for historic allegations, particularly of those who served in Northern Ireland.
Chair of the Defence Committee, the Rt Hon. Tobias Ellwood MP, said: “Our forces play an integral role in maintaining the security and stability of our nation and over the last few weeks have fought on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus. Service personnel are required to display loyalty and respect, exercise discipline and self-control, and exhibit courage in the face of adversity. These values form the bedrock of our forces. Any allegations of behaviour that departs from these values risks undermining the military’s critical work and the sacrifices that all soldiers make. If an individual commits crimes, in our name and in uniform, there must be a thorough, proportionate investigation. However, no service personnel should be stuck in a constant state of limbo, subject to relentless and repeated investigations. Instances such as these indicate a dysfunctional legal system, with unduly complex laws that are far too subjective and open to interpretation. The Defence Committee welcomes this legislation but remains concerned that continued ambiguity leaves service personnel vulnerable. Our armed forces deserve absolute clarity when it comes to legislation and must feel supported by military organisations themselves when navigating the legal system. The Committee is also calling on the Government to accelerate work on its proposals for Northern Ireland, as those who face allegations of wrongdoing there are left in a state of uncertainty.”
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Asked by Mr Kevan Jones
Asked on: 01 May 2020
Ministry of Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Defence and Equipment Plan 2019-2029, published on 27 February 2020, for what reasons the cost of the UK’s 5 E-7 Wedgetail AWACS has increased by from £1.51 billion to £2.16 billion since the announcement of the purchase of that aircraft in March 2019.
Answered by: Jeremy Quin
Answered on: 06 May 2020
The cost of the acquisition of the E-7 Wedgetail aircraft has not increased. The figure of £1.51 billion relates to the value of the aircraft procurement contract, whereas the figure of £2.16 billion refers to the approved project costs, the scope of which covers more than just the acquisition of the aircraft including work on infrastructure and training and on future support/sustainment, hence the larger amount.