The Houses of Parliament were in recess this week and will resume business on Monday 24th February.
The Times has reported that Lieutenant-General Sir Nicholas Carter is to become the Chief of the General Staff for the Army in September. Sir Nicholas is currently Commander of the Land Forces and has served three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. It is understood that the current head of the army, General Wall will be retiring from the military. The Daily Telegraph says that Sir Nicholas’s appointment will come at a time of major change and uncertainty for the Army.
The Public Accounts Select Committee has confirmed it is to hear evidence on the MOD’s Equipment Plan and Major Projects Report 2013 on 24th February. The report was compiled by the National Audit Office and, despite suggesting that some MOD projects had not experienced significant delays or increases in costs, did express concern about delays and rising costs associated with large-scale complex projects, including the development of new aircraft carriers.
- ‘New IRA’ claims responsibility for parcel bombs sent to army recruitment offices
- BAE Systems secures Eurofighter deal with Saudi Arabia
- MOD claims plans for new building at police training base are confidential
‘New IRA’ claims responsibility for parcel bombs sent to army recruitment offices
The Guardian has reported that the New IRA has confirmed it was responsible for a series of parcel bombs sent to army recruitment offices across England. Scotland Yard confirmed that the New IRA used a recognised code-word in claiming responsibility for sending the suspect packages to military careers offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury and Queensmere shopping centre in Slough last week. Earlier the group had sent similar packets to Aldershot, Reading and the RAF careers office in Chatham, Kent. MOD bomb disposal units were called in to deal with a number of devices which were thought to contain low grade explosives. The New IRA was formed in the summer of 2012 by the merger of the Real IRA, an armed vigilante group known as Republican Action Against Drugs and independent armed republican units in County Tyrone. Sinn Fein has condemned the attacks.
BAE Systems secures Eurofighter deal with Saudi Arabia
The Financial Times has reported that BAE Systems has secured a boost for British manufacturing and safeguarded 5,000 jobs after finally agreeing the price of a deal to sell Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia. The FT says the timing will be welcome with the closure of Portsmouth shipyard recently announced, which will see 940 jobs go. BAE is also making nearly 800 workers redundant in Scotstoun and Govan yards in Glasgow, despite its decision to consolidate its shipbuilding operations in the city. Shares in BAE dropped recently when it announced lower than expected earnings for 2013.
MOD claims plans for new building at police training base are confidential
The Braintree & Witham Times has reported that the MOD has declined to publish details of what a new building at its establishment in Wethersfield will be used for. A planning application for the new building was lodged on 22nd January and has been subject to public consultation that concluded on 19th February. The MOD has declined to give any details as to the building’s purpose, except for confirming it will be used for ‘training’.