§ 91. Mr. SANDYS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the number of destroyers in the Fleet available on 31st December of this year; and how many of these will, at that date, have passed the age limit of 12 years?
On the basis of the London Naval Treaty, 1930, allowance of 150,000 tons it is estimated that on 31st December of this year there would be 117 completed destroyers in the British and Dominion Navies, of which 43 would have passed 12 years of age. Negotiations are, however, now proceeding to obtain agreement to the retention of an additional 40,000 tons, which would represent another 37 destroyers all past 12 years of age. In the latter connection I would point out to the hon. Member that the age limit for destroyers laid down after 31st December, 1920, is 16 years. At the end of this year there will be 25 destroyers being built.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
When my Noble Friend speaks about negotiations to obtain agreement, is it not a fact that the escalator clause can be brought into operation by an act of notification, and that it does not involve the operation of consent necessarily.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Is it admitted that notification is a sufficient reason for action under the escalator clause?
§ 94. Sir PERCY HARRIS
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what financial authority there is for making contracts for nine destroyers?
The contracts for these destroyers have not been placed. The Admiralty have merely made an anticipatory announcement, which is for the general convenience, as to the manner in which they intend to distribute the orders.