A MISSILE manufacturer in Bolton has been hailed as an example of British innovation.

Bolton North East’s David Crausby was speaking after a speech by Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy at the Labour Party conference in Manchester.

Mr Murphy said Labour would adopt a strategy that supports the 300,000 British workers employed by the defence industry if it was returned to power in 2015.

Mr Crausby said the policy would be good news for Bolton and cited the example of MBDA UK in Lostock.

The company developed the Dual Mode Brimstone precision missile used by the RAF during NATO's operation to support Libyan rebels in last year’s uprising.

During the conflict the factory — which employs 300 staff — was asked to double its output of the weapon and workers were later praised by defence equipment minister Peter Luff for their “exemplary support” during his visit to the Lostock Lane site in February. Mr Crausby, a member of the NATO Political Committee and former Commons Defence Committee member, told The Bolton News: “I thought what Jim Murphy said about the defence industrial strategy was very good.

“We have a major defence industry in Bolton and a lot of missiles come out of the factory at Lostock.

“The missiles played a major role in the Libya conflict and because they’re so sophisticated there were no civilian deaths."

Former engineer Mr Crausby added: “It’s important to have an independent strategy rather than — as some people believe — simply buying off the shelf from the Americans, where you might get equipment that’s not as good, and not when you want it.

“Here you had a British workforce that was prepared to work 24-seven to get the missiles ready within 10 days of the conflict starting.”

Mr Crausby also echoed Mr Murphy’s call for more political action to bring the conflict in Afghanistan to a close.