What Was The Westland Affair?


1 Answers

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The Westland affair was a British political controversy of the 1980s which rocked the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. It related to the troubled British helicopter manufacturer Westland. Faced with economic difficulties, Westland was forced to contemplate accepting a buyout from another company or group of companies. An initial offer was made by the American firm Sikorsky, and another followed from a European defence consortium.

The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the Westland board of directors favoured the American offer but some members of the cabinet, including Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, were concerned about increasing Britain's military dependence on the United States and supported the European offer in the hope that a substantial European defence industry could be sustained.

These divisions within the government led to the resignation of Michael Heseltine as well as fellow cabinet member Leon Brittan. The dispute foreshadowed later more substantial divisions within the Conservative party over European integration and the party's traditional Atlanticist outlook.

Answer Question