“This decision changes nothing immediately, but it raises profound questions for the future of the defence sector and the UK’s industrial base, which has been shown by this merger to be in crisis.
“Thousands of skilled jobs have been lost at BAE over the last two years and we fear the loss of thousands more if BAE cannot expand its order book into new markets.
“BAE is a prime contractor for the Ministry of Defence and this move clearly reflects fears about the future profitability of those arrangements as defence markets shrink.
“Now that ministers are liberated from their quasi-judicial role in the merger, they should spell out what plans they have to use the human and physical capital embodied in BAE to enhance the UK’s manufacturing capacity.
“This nation needs more manufacturing capacity, not less, and where government is the prime customer we cannot continue to operate in a policy vacuum.”