Labour breaks ranks, won’t back JSF

Labour MPs have decided not to vote in favour of buying two test JSF fighter jets, parliamentary party leader Mariƫtte Hamer said on Wednesday afternoon.

The party, part of the tripartite coalition government, is not convinced that the American-backed JSF is the best replacement for the armed forces’ aging F16s, Hamer said.
‘We want to make sure we do not get sucked into a billion euro project’ which may later turn out to have been the wrong decision, Hamer was reported as saying.
But the party says it does support the involvement of Dutch firms in the development of the JSF because of the knock-on effect on industry and jobs.
Junior defence minister Jack de Vries wants to sign the contract for two test planes before the end of this month. He says agreement to buy the JSF test planes is part of the 2006 coalition accord.
The other two coalition parties – the Christian Democrats and ChristenUnie – both back buying test planes.
Hamer said Labour’s decision not to approve the purchase need not cause a coalition crisis. ‘We are not looking for a crisis,’ she said. ‘We just want to make a good decision on behalf of the taxpayer.’

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