Despite predicting that British voters will “make the right choice” in the in/out EU referendum, which for him means a “vote to stay”, the UK and European Chief Executive of one of the world’s biggest defence contractors has insisted that a Brexit would have little impact on the defence industry.
Speaking to The Independent, Andrew Tyler of Northrop Grumman, the US-based aerospace and defence technology group, said:
“‘In’ will get my vote. Is it dangerous to have a vote? I’ve got a pretty high confidence that the British public will make the right choice and vote to stay.”
However, in a comment which will be much used by the Out campain, Tyler went on to say that a Brexit would not have much effect on the defence industry in general or to Northrop in particular, saying: “Nato is more important for defence-related issues than [the EU].”
Tyler’s comments come at the same time that manufacturers, represented by their industry organisation EEF have joined calls to hold the promised referendum at the “earliest opportunity” in order to end uncertainty and minimise the economic damage it can cause.
Others, such as Michael Spencer of Icap, say it “should not be rushed” in order that David Cameron is given the best opportunity to negotiate meaningful change before the referendum is held.