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 inquirylast year Members made good use
of our report in the debate.