§ 25. Major ROSS
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what is the appropriate number of destroyers that should be laid down annually in order to provide us with an efficient destroyer fleet; and how many destroyers of the 1929 programme he has cancelled?
The destroyer programme originally presented to Parliament for 1929 consisted of a flotilla leader and eight destroyers. The programme as now amended is correctly stated in another question standing in the hon. Member's name as a leader and four destroyers. The question of future construction in this category is now under consideration.
§ Major ROSS
As the right hon. Gentleman has not been able to formulate the appropriate number of destroyers required annually, why did he complain of the inadequate programme that he inherited? Was it merely that he wanted to have more ships to cancel?
The inadequacy of the provision left to us makes all the greater difficulty for us in settling what our programme should be.
§ Major ROSS
Then why did the right hon. Gentleman cancel ships in a programme which he says was inadequate?
§ 27. Major ROSS
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether work has begun on the 6-inch-gun cruiser, destroyer leader, and four destroyers of the 1920 programme; and whether a decision has been come to with regard to the construction of the three submarines of that programme?
§ 28. Mr. MARKHAM
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty when the three submarines of the 1929 naval construction programme, the building of which was suspended pending the conclusion of the Naval Conference, are to be laid down?
Orders have been given for work to proceed on the 6-inchgun cruiser ("Leander") to be built at Devonport and on the two destroyers to be built at Portsmouth; the preparation of material for construction has already commenced. Tenders for the leader and the two remaining destroyers which will be built by contract, are now under consideration. It is proposed to proceed forthwith with the building of the three submarines. Two will be of approximately 650 tons each and one of approximately 1,800 tons. The two smaller submarines will be built at Chatham Dockyard and the larger one by contract.
§ Major ROSS
Are we to understand that the Admiralty are making every effort to get on with this work?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Is this the new programme of construction that was foreshadowed in the presentation of the Navy Estimates?
No. I have explained more than once to the hon. and gallant Member that this is part of the 1929 programme which was not cancelled. A considerable portion of that programme was cancelled, and this is the remainder.
These three submarines are three of the six which were approved by Parliament in 1929 of the 1929 construction programme. Three were cancelled and the remaining three are now being proceeded with.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Are we to understand that there is a further shipbuilding programme awaiting presentation?
I have explained to the House already that the Government must consider what necessary replacements must take place in accordance with the terms of the Treaty.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Can the right hon. Gentleman or the Prime Minister give us any idea how soon we may have the full naval programme of the Government?
That question has been put already to-day. I cannot say more at present than that I will inform the House as soon as the programme is ready.
§ Captain P. MACDONALD
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the question of private dockyards as well as naval dockyards when the new programme is put forward?