§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the basis was for his Department's statements concerning the inability of UK yards to design and build roll-on/roll-off ferries to meet his Department's known requirements. 
§ Mr. Hoon
The statement in the press on 28 March attributed to an MOD spokesman was taken out of context. The Ministry of Defence press office issued a480W statement that day making it clear that it did not represent my view, nor that of the Ministry of Defence and that there was no reason why British shipyards should not be able to bid competitively for roll-on roll-off ferry work either in the UK or abroad.
The Government have encouraged consortiums bidding for the MOD sealift contract to look to UK shipyards. Bids are still being considered and we expect a decision to be taken in the late spring.