PM’s pledge to BAE’s workers

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FYLDE coast MPs have pledged to continue the fight to help BAE recover its multi-billion pound Indian deal.

And they spent time with the Prime Minister yesterday to hear how the fight to secure the order is going on.

BAE’s bid to supply India with 126 Eurofighter Typhoons was struck a devastating blow when France’s Rafale aircraft was selected as its preferred option.

The French bid is understood to have been lower than BAE’s – but the Indian authorities have yet to examine the detail around technology transfer and the manufacturing facilities offered by the two countries.

Any deal would see the vast majority of the planes assembled on Indian soil – meaning there will be no job losses at Warton should the deal not be won.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies and Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace joined Ribble Valley’s Nigel and at Number 10 Downing Street to discuss the Indian deal with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Menzies said: “We were supposed to be there 20 minutes, which doesn’t sound a lot – but it is for Downing Street – and we stayed for more than half an hour.

“The Prime Minister talked us through what he’d been doing regarding the Indian deal.

“There’s been around 50 ministerial visits to India since the coalition took over, and there has been meetings with BAE’s chief executive as well.”

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Mr Menzies said talks had also taken place with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as her country was the lead partner in the Eurofighter consortium on the Indian bid.

Mr Menzies added: “The Prime Minister accepted the Typhoon is a technically superior aircraft to anything the French can build.

“He was also full of praise for the Lancashire workforce.

“The Prime Minister was in a determined and resolute mood and he is of the opinion that while BAE is not the preferred bidder at this stage, the Government will do everything it can to put forward its case.”

BAE bosses have pledged to continue fighting for the Indian contract.

Dassault, the French aviation company behind the Rafale, has previously been named preferred bidder on other projects, but has lost the bid when other factors, such as how it would help infrastructure in the buyer’s country, have been examined more closely.

BAE is still in talks over hundreds of potential job losses at the Warton site – but pledged from the outset there will be no more should the Indian deal collapse.

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