§ Sir Patrick Wall
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 8 May to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) Official Report, column 386, if he will make a further statement on the exchange of telephone calls between the commercial director of British Aerospace and the principal director of contracts (air) on 13 March concerning the new trainer aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
§ Mr. Butler
I am aware that the group commercial director of British Aerospace, Mr. Alan Smith, denies that in the telephone call made to him by the Ministry of Defence's Principal Director of Contracts (Air) on 13 March, he was told that an end point of midday on 14 March had been set for improved offers in respect of the new trainer aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
The Government regret that such a misunderstanding should have arisen. This matter has been fully discussed in a debriefing given to British Aerospace by the Ministry of Defence on the competition. While each side maintains its position on what was said during the telephone call, both now regard the matter as closed.