§ Mr. Arbuthnot
The question does not specify dates, but the Royal Ordnance factories were part of the Ministry of Defence until 2 January 1985, when the property, rights and liabilities were vested in Royal Ordnance plc. At this time, the company was wholly owned by the Government and the Secretary of State for Defence was the sole shareholder. RO plc from 2 January 1985 operated, as far as possible, as an independent company and acted commercially, under the terms of a memorandum of understanding. RO plc sold the tank factory in Leeds to Vickers plc in October 1986 and the sale of RO plc to British Aerospace was completed in April 1987. Since April 1987 the relationship between the Ministry of Defence and the company has been one of customer and supplier.
PRB was also a supplier to the Ministry of Defence, both directly and, we believe, indirectly, as a subcontractor to Royal Ordnance.
From 2 January 1985, exports by Royal Ordnance were subject to the normal licensing arrangements, but it has been the practice of successive Governments not to reveal information about individual defence exports.