Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to continue to fight for a multi-billion pound fighter jet contract, according to a pair of Lancashire’s MPs.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies and Ben Wallace, who represents Wyre and Preston North, met with Mr Cameron at Downing Street yesterday to call on him to continue to press his Indian counterparts to select the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet ahead of a French-built model.
It comes as part of a diplomatic push triggered by the Indian government’s decision to select the Rafale, built by French firm Dassault, as its “preferred bidder” in the battle for a deal to sell 126 jets to its air force.
Mr Menzies said: “The Prime Minister was not in the mood to give up and as an MP for Lancashire, I share his views.
“The workers of BAE Systems can be assured that he and his counterparts in the Cabinet have a firm focus on this contract and will continue to push it with their Indian counterparts at every opportunity.”
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, was also among those who met with Mr Cameron yesterday along with fellow Conservative MP Pritti Patel and former Financial Times associate editor, Jo Johnson.
Mr Menzies said: “Both Pritti and Jo are very well connected with people in India and are evidence we are leaving no stone unturned in our bid.”
Mr Wallace said the PM was “committed” to supporting the push to sell the Typhoon overseas.
However, Preston MP Mark Hendrick has hit out at Mr Cameron’s failure to invite him and Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle to yesterday’s meeting.
The Labour MP accused the Prime Minister of “playing politics” over a contract which could bring work to BAE Systems’ jet-building factories at Warton and Samlesbury, both near Preston.
He said: “Thousands of BAE workers rely on this project.”