MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week I met up with BAE bosses and union leaders to discuss the potential job losses following a fall in order numbers for Eurofighter Typhoon.

I met Chris Boardman, managing director of Military Air and Information at Warton, before meeting union reps at Warton, and later those from Brough in Westminster, to discuss the order book and where the Government can help win more work for our highly-skilled workforce.

The commitment for 24 Typhoon from Qatar is all but signed – the deal is in place and I hope the Government can get the final agreement in place as soon as possible.

Having visited Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Government just a few weeks back, I am also confident we will see a significant order for more Typhoon.

The Government is also leading on a bid to sell Typhoon to Belgium. The sooner we see these orders come through, the better.

I have also signed up to the idea of new Red Arrows replacements being ordered. However, the main issue is the possibility the Typhoon production line could close down – so while new Red Arrows would be welcome, they will not solve the wider problem.

I also spoke this week on a debate on the Nuclear Safeguard Bill which is of vital importance for the energy security of the UK, and also for the 1,200 people working at Springfields in Fylde.

In conversations with ministers, I have been deeply reassured by the fact that this is a Government working towards the possibility of remaining a member of Euratom after Brexit and, if we cannot do that, of ensuring that we are safeguarding Britain’s civil nuclear interests by having these measures firmly in place in this Bill.

The bill looks at the relationship between Britain and Europe post Brexit, and also at the complex Japanese and American ownership of Westinghouse, the owner of Springfields.

The nuclear industry must be able to trade from the first post-Brexit moment to help ensure our Fylde coast workers have job security.

I met library campaigners in Lytham on Saturday who are calling for the return of a library to the town as soon as possible.

The Conservatives pledged to reopen all of the libraries closed under the previous Labour administration and, while it is taking longer than I hoped for, there is work going on behind the scenes to ensure Lytham residents will soon be able to use a library service once again.

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