MP welcomes move to halt BAE merger talks

A Eurofighter Typhoon at BAE Systems, Warton Aerodrome, Lancashire.
A Eurofighter Typhoon at BAE Systems, Warton Aerodrome, Lancashire.
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Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace has welcomed the news that the potential £28 million BAE-EADS merger plans will not go ahead.

And the tough-talking politician has hit out at defence giant BAE Systems’ top bosses for even thinking about a deal which could have led to job losses in the district.

Mr Wallace recently organised 45 fellow MPs to sign a joint letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, seeking stronger safeguards if the deal had gone ahead.

Speaking to The Courier / News from Washington DC, where he was meeting with senators and US government officials to discuss the now-halted deal, Mr Wallace said: “I am pleased that the reality has hit home with BAE senior management.

“While the chief executive of EADS had all good intentions he was never going to be able to throw the yoke of French and German political interference off his back.

“As long as those two squabbling government shareholders were present the deal should never have been promoted.

“Leopards don’t change their spots and it was clear to me from the outset British jobs were at risk.”

Mr Wallace said BAE’s board should now reflect long and hard at what he described as its “strategic error” and what it could mean for the company’s future. He added: “If they have put at risk my constituents’ jobs and fatally wounded the UK’s jewel in the manufacturing crown, then they should consider their position.

“BAE, with its workers, is a world leader in aerospace it has a great future it does not deserve, through in-consistent and unrealistic strategy to be put at risk by such leadership.”

The deal would have created a defence titan with combined sales of £60 billion and more than 220,000 staff, with around 52,000 employees in the UK.

BAE said it had become clear that the interests of government stakeholders – including those in France and Germany – could not be reconciled with each other or with the company’s objectives.

Unions believed the link-up would have created a strong company to guarantee jobs in the long term.

BAE chief executive Ian King said the British business remained “strong and financially robust”.

He said: “We are obviously disappointed that we were unable to reach an acceptable agreement with our various government stakeholders.