Government defiant despite mounting parliamentary pressure



The Government remains defiant in the face of mounting pressure to launch a fresh inquiry into the 1994 Chinook disaster following last week's Public...



The Government remains defiant in the face of mounting pressure to launch a fresh inquiry into the 1994 Chinook disaster following last week's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report.

But ministers were unable to silence cross-party warnings that the Government's stance was damaging morale in the armed forces and sending the wrong signals to the software industry.

Lord Chalfont, who chairs the parliamentary committee that is campaigning to clear the names of the dead Chinook pilots, said, "The PAC report is the strongest endorsement we could have expected. For the Ministry of Defence to dismiss it is a prime example of 'arrogance' of which the ministry stands accused."

Robert Key, MP, said, "We have evidence now that was not available to ministers at the time."

He added that the Government's stance would encourage the aviation software industry to blame the pilots in any future accident rather than look to their code.

Analysts called for powerful government and business users to demand more vigorous testing and guarantees from suppliers of safety critical software. Graham Titterington, senior consultant at analyst Ovum, said, "But if they demand more software testing it might put the delivery date back of projects. They will almost certainly pay a bit more."

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