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British Procurement Minister Resigns to Go Racing

Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support, has left the Ministry of Defence after more than two years in office.

Lord Drayson is taking a break from politics to pursue his motor racing career in the United States. He will be replaced by Baroness Ann Taylor.

In a personal message to all defence staff Lord Drayson said:

"It has been a privilege to work with the military and civilian staff at the MOD to improve defence procurement over the past two and a half years. Making sure our Armed Forces have the equipment they need has been my number one priority, and I would like to pay tribute to their professionalism and dedication to duty."

Lord Drayson went on to say:

"I believe the improvements that we have achieved together have been outstanding, and I would like to thank both those within the Ministry of Defence and those within the defence industry, who have worked so hard to deliver this transformation over the last two years.

"We have delivered an unprecedented amount of new equipment to the front line, from large complex platforms such as the Typhoon fighter down to new kit for the individual soldier, such as the automatic grenade launcher. We have also delivered an enormous number of urgent operational requirements to support our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of it in very short timescales such as the new Mastiff protected vehicles delivered in 23 weeks. Our military personnel are better equipped now on operations than they have ever been.

"The publication of the Defence Industrial Strategy in 2005 provided the framework for the reforms and marked a turning point in the relationship between government and industry. The merger of the DPA and the DLO into a single organisation, Defence Equipment and Support, has been a great success and will enable these reforms to endure and be built upon.

"I entered politics in order to make a difference, and feel that together we have done that. Thank you for your hard work and your support."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has written to Lord Drayson to wish him luck and thank him for his two years service with the Ministry of Defence. He also expressed hope that Lord Drayson would return to Government at some point in the future.

Des Browne Secretary of State for Defence said of Lord Drayson's decision to leave the Ministry of Defence:

"I am sorry to see Lord Drayson leave Government. He has worked tirelessly for over two years to improve the way in which we equip our forces. Paul Drayson can be immensely proud of all he has achieved: the introduction of a Defence Industrial Strategy, the creation of Defence Equipment and Support and the introduction into service of key capabilities such as Typhoon and HMS DARING, to new armoured vehicles for the front line. He has introduced innovation and creative thinking to the procurement process and ensured that our forces have first class equipment. I wish him all the best in the future." (ends)
Lord Drayson to Be Replaced by Baroness Ann Taylor