02 Sep 22. Defence Committee to hold UK Defence and the Indo-Pacific evidence session. At 10.30, on Tuesday 6 September, the Defence Committee will hold an evidence session on UK Defence’s tilt to the Indo-Pacific, hearing from two panels of expert witnesses. The session will focus on key defence agreements in the Indo-Pacific region, including AUKUS, ASEAN and the Quad. Topics likely to be explored include the strategic importance of AUKUS and Australia as a key ally, as well as ASEAN, asking whether the union is a reliable avenue for the UK to achieve its aims in the region. The Committee may also explore the purpose of the Quad and whether the UK ought to be pursuing a closer relationship with it.
Witnesses include Professor Rory Medcalf, Head of National Security College at Australian National University and Ben Bland, Director, Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House.
10.30, 6 September:
- Professor Rory Medcalf, Head of National Security College, Australian National University
- Dr Marcus Hellyer, Senior Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)
- Ben Bland, Director, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House
- Dr Rob Yates, Lecturer, University of Bristol
31 Aug 22. BAE Systems, Babcock and Minister Ivan McKee MSP to give evidence on military shipbuilding in Scotland. The Scottish Affairs Committee will be holding its second evidence session exploring Defence in Scotland: Military Shipbuilding. MPs will be hearing from leading shipbuilders with operations in Scotland, BAE and Babcock, before questioning the Scottish Government’s Minister to Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee MSP. Scotland is the centre of naval shipbuilding in the UK, with Ministry of Defence (MOD) spending in 2019/2020 directly supporting 7,500 shipbuilding jobs. Both BAE Systems and Babcock have signed military shipbuilding contracts with the MOD. In 2017, BAE Systems signed a £3.7 bn contract with the MOD to build the first three of eight Type 26 vessels in Govan and Scotstoun, and in 2019, Babcock signed a £1.25 bn contract with the MOD to build five Type 31 vessels in Rosyth. Industry has stressed that the continuation of Scotland being a shipbuilding leader depends on a steady drumbeat of orders. Following the session with BAE and Babcock, Members will then put questions to the Scottish Government Minister, Ivan McKee MSP. In its written evidence to the Committee, the Scottish Government stated that “the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has underlined the importance of sovereign capability and self-sufficiency in defence shipbuilding as we enter a new global security environment”. Building on evidence gathered during the first session held on 13 June, this evidence session is likely to feature issues including:
- The military shipbuilding ‘drumbeat’ of orders in Scotland;
- Implications for Scotland of the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh;
- The procurement of Royal Navy warships;
- Shipbuilding supply chains, SMEs and clusters;
- Shipbuilding exports;
- Shipbuilding workforce, recruitment, skills and retention.
Witnesses from 15:00
- Sir Simon Lister, Managing Director, BAE Systems Naval Ships
- Professor John Howie MBE, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Babcock
- Ben Carpenter Merritt, Head of UK Government Relations, Babcock
Witnesses from 16:15
- Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Scottish Government
- Rory McGregor, Manufacturing Policy Advisor – Space, Aerospace, Defence & Marine, Scottish Government
- Scott McClelland, Policy Manager – Space and Aerospace, Defence and Marine, Scottish Government