Select Committee on Defence First Special Report

Letter from the Chairman of the Committee (18 April 2000)

  When the defence debates on each of the armed Services were replaced by the three more thematic debates, the Defence Committee undertook to tie in its annual examination of major procurement projects with the debate on defence equipment. Accordingly, in our report last November on the Common New Generation Frigate Programme (Eighth Report, HC 544) we recommended that the next defence debate take place in early June 2000, to allow us time to consider a newly instigated annual memorandum from the Ministry of Defence, and when I wrote to you on 15 December I requested that the debate not be held before the Spring Recess.

  This timetable depends on the MoD producing their memorandum before Easter. Because of the lateness of Easter this year, however, and an already very full Committee programme after Easter, it is likely to be difficult to produce our report on the major procurement projects before the middle of June. I would be grateful therefore if you could not schedule this year's defence equipment debate until the latter half of June at the earliest, to ensure that the House has the opportunity of being informed by our inquiry—last year Members made good use of our report in the debate.

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