Minster moves to calm concerns over post-Brexit defence sector

The Defence Secretary has claimed the EU “needs countries like Britain” if it wants to succeed in developing a defence sector.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 3:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 4:27 pm
Gavin Williamson
Gavin Williamson

Gavin Williamson’s remarks came as he sought to downplay concerns over UK firms struggling to bid for contracts within the European Economic Area in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

BAE Systems at Warton and Samlesbury and supply chain companies in Lancashire employ thousands and area a major contributor to the economy.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: “Most of our defence procurement and most of the opportunities in terms of the defence industry isn’t through the European Union, and we’ll continue to work with the EU to have access to programmes.

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Gavin Williamson

“This isn’t just important for UK business but actually if the European Union wants to succeed in developing a defence sector, it needs countries like Britain and also the United States to be able to participate in these schemes.”

On no deal, he added: “The Ministry of Defence has conducted extensive planning and preparation to ensure that defence is ready for a range of scenarios, including that of a no-deal EU exit.”