6. Mr. Alexander
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether work has yet been commenced on the two "Dido" class cruisers of the 1936 new construction programme allocated to Chatham and Portsmouth dockyards?
§ The First Lord of the Admiralty (Sir Samuel Hoare)
Orders were issued for the building of these cruisers to commence on 15th March, 1937, but it has now been found necessary, owing to present and prospective demands for ship repair and other work at Chatham and Portsmouth, to defer the commencement of work on the vessels until later in the year. In the circumstances, contracts have been allotted for the two "Dido" class cruisers of the 1937 programme, orders for which, in the normal course, would have been placed towards the end of the year.
Do we understand, then, that these ships are not to be built in the Government dockyards?
§ Sir S. Hoare
No, Sir. It is a question of re-arranging the dates, and it does so happen that the Government dockyards at the moment are full up with a great deal of unexpected repair work. That means that we are ante-dating the contracts of the "Didos" and we are postponing the dockyard built "Didos" until the dockyards are ready to take them.
§ Colonel Gretton
Can my right hon. Friend say at what date these two cruisers will actually be commenced?
§ Sir S. Hoare
I think, at once. I am not sure to which two cruisers my right hon. and gallant Friend refers.