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Mr. Hoyle: Of course, there is a worry about Chinathe Chinese are being given intelligence about the design of the camouflage because they are printing itbut the bigger question is that a state factory is being used and subsidies are being applied so that it can win work. My worry is that the competition is not fair.
Mr. Ingram: I mentioned other countriesUkraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Sri Lanka. We check out the quality of the factories that supply the camouflage, and we ensure that it meets high standards. The idea that China is somehow the sweatshop of the world is not accurate in terms of the quality of the work that it does and the way in which its economy is growing dramatically. My hon. Friend may think that we should simply cease trading with China; I do not think that is realistic. All companies in the UK are free to trade with Chinese companies. Moreover, the UK is not alone in sourcing its military clothing from abroad. Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark, to name but four of them, all procure clothing made in other countries. However, as I say, I will take on board the points that have been made about quality and investigate them further.
Turning to the joint combat aircraft, I am pleased to say that the joint strike fighter programme is progressing to plan, and we are confident that the joint strike fighter will meet the UK's joint combat aircraft requirements. The new aircraft will be a sophisticated, stealthy and multi-role aircraft that will provide UK
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forces with a significant step up in military capability. When embarked upon our new aircraft carriers, the JCA will be the key element of a more versatile and capable carrier force. That represents a significant opportunity for UK defence companies and the UK aerospace industry. Clearly, there are still issues to resolve in respect of the ITAR waiver. Intensive lobbying goes on, and we make the point time and againwe will not cease to do sothat there are huge opportunities for British industry on the back of the contract.
The final point that my hon. Friend made related to Alfred McAlpine Business Systems. He is correct to say that that company does not currently deliver IT systems for submarines. Any decision to change suppliers would be a matter for the prime contractor, BAE Systems submarines. The management of subcontractors is principally the responsibility of the prime contractor, who is selected on the basis of technical competence and ability to manage the supply chain in accordance with the MOD requirements of governance and probity.
I am aware that Alfred McAlpine Business Systems is currently undergoing security accreditation checks to enable it operate as a subcontractor on MOD contracts. It would be inappropriate therefore to comment further on that point, other than to say that the more British-based companies we can encourage into the supply chain, the better. We should be encouraging more start-up companies, growth companies and competition, but the key issue is that they must undertake robust accreditation processes, satisfy the governance aspects of that approach and show probity in going about their business.
Mr. Hoyle: My hon. Friend seems to be saying that the more we can encourage companies to put tenders in and the more we have supplying us, the better. That flies in the face of what we did on uniforms, where we wanted to reduce the number of suppliers.
No, we did not want to reduce the number of suppliers. We wanted to change the way in which the supply chain was managed. The number of
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suppliers, depending on how many subcontractors tender, is a matter for the prime contractor. We do not regulate the supply chain in that sense.
From Monday 17 October, a Hansard record of proceedings will be available on the House of Commons website on the same day. In the normal course of events, the text of the Official Report for the early part of a debate lasting a full day will be available on the website while the debate is still going on.
I have tried to establish the origins of the rule, which is based on rulings by my predecessors. The main justification appears to be that it would be wrong to argue about what was said until an authoritative published text was available. There is no rule, for example, that a Member's remarks on the first day of a two-day debate should not be quoted on a subsequent day.
In the light of the availability to Members of an authoritative text of speeches made on the same day, I now rule that the current practice set out in "May" should be disregarded where a Member is quoting from published material remarks made in the House on the same day.