§ 20. Mr. MICHAEL BEAUMONT
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty when it is proposed to take in hand the rearmament of the "Hawkins" class cruisers; whether they will be completed by 31st December, 1936; and, if not, will the Government consider the invocation of the escalator clause of the London Treaty?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Lord Stanley)
It is intended to remove the 7.5 inch guns from these cruisers before 31st December, 1936. The re-armament of this class will not, however, be completed by that date, as these ships are to undergo large 1178 repairs in order to fit them for 10 years further service. During these refits the ships will be given an armament which will bring them within sub-category (b) for light surface vessels, London Naval Treaty, 1936. Financial provision has been made this year for the removal of the guns, and further provision will be made in 1937 for the refits and re-armament. There are no grounds for taking action in this respect under Clause 21 of the London Naval Treaty, 1930.