THREE foreign firms said in court to have paid backhanders to the convicted Ministry of Defence official, Gordon Foxley, have been suspended from the Government's list of approved suppliers, writes Chris Blackhurst.
Jonathan Aitken, the defence procurement minister, said the three firms - Junghans of Germany, Fratelli Borletti of Italy, and AS Raufoss of Norway - would not be receiving new MoD contracts until all the facts had been investigated.
The minister also told the Commons that the Government was considering demanding repayment of the pounds 1.5m in bribes paid to Foxley by the three companies.
This is the first time the MoD has responded to calls to scrap contracts awarded by Foxley, who will be sentenced next month. Workers at the Royal Ordnance factory in Blackburn, Lancashire, estimate that more than 1,000 jobs have been lost by Foxley ignoring their plant.
David Clark, Labour's defence spokesman, said Mr Aitken's response did not go far enough: it made no mention of cancelling existing orders with the firms.
He was writing to Malcolm Rifkind, Secretary of State for Defence, demanding to know whether the MoD had asked the German, Italian and Norwegian governments what steps they would take to ensure it did not happen again.
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