A DORSET MP has welcomed the government’s decision to launch an investigation into the planned £4billion takeover of the county’s aerospace giant Cobham.

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom has called on the competition watchdog to intervene and assess the security implications of the company’s sale to the American private equity fund Advent International.

She said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has until October 29 to report back to her regarding the impact of the acquisition.

Michael Tomlinson, Conservative MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, said: “This is a sensible step by the secretary of state, made having received advice from the defence secretary. The test is to consider whether there are national security implications.

“My concern remains for those employed by Cobham and their future prospects.

“I have been told that the CMA will now prepare a report on the national security aspects of the proposed transaction. This is a statutory process to ensure national security implications of a proposed sale are fully assessed.”

The sale was approved by 93 per cent of investors on Monday, despite bitter opposition from Lady Nadine Cobham, whose late husband Michael ran the Wimborne-based business.

Mrs Leadsom said the government wants to "support private sector innovation whilst safeguarding the public interest".

She said: "Following careful consideration of the proposed takeover of Cobham, I have issued an intervention notice on the grounds of national security.

"As part of the statutory process, the CMA will now investigate and carry out a review on the national security implications of the transaction."

After the regulator reports back to government, it will be for the business secretary to decide whether the deal is in the public interest, or if a further phase two investigation should take place.

Cobham employs around 10,000 people, with more than 1,000 staff at its Wimborne HQ and its site at Bournemouth Airport.

Formerly called Flight Refuelling, it is best-known for its air-to-air refuelling technology.

It became the target of takeover interest after its share value slumped on the back of a raft of profit warnings and contract disputes.

Shortly after losing Monday’s vote, Lady Cobham said shareholders had joined directors in running up the "white flag" over the company and renewed her calls for intervention.