HC Deb 20 December 1937 vol 330 cc1604-5
58. Miss Ward

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has any further announcement to make regarding the placing of contracts for warships?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Shakespeare)

Yes, Sir. An order for one 8,000-ton cruiser is being placed with each of the four following firms:

Messrs. Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Limited, Wallsend-on-Tyne;

Messrs. John Brown and Company, Limited, Clydebank;

Messrs. A. Stephen and Sons, Limited, Govan; and

Messrs. Vickers-Armstrongs, Limited, who will build the vessel at their High Walker Yard.

Mr. Alexander

May I ask in what programme these ships are included, 1937 or 1938? If the former, how does the hon. Member reconcile his answer with the answer given to the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. R. Gibson) last week?

Mr. Shakespeare

They are the conclusion of the 1937 programme.

Mr. Churchill

Can the hon. Member say whether these new cruisers are equal to contemporary vessels built by other countries?

Mr. Shakespeare

Certainly, similar to those built under the conditions laid down in the London Naval Treaty.

Mr. H. Morrison

Will these ships be built under the armament programme or under the election programme?

Mr. Alexander

May I ask the hon. Member to reconcile the answer to-day with the answer last week, when the Parliamentary Secretary said that no more ships were to be built under that programme? Was that a special answer for Greenock, or is to-day's answer a special answer for other ports?

Mr. Shakespeare

I think the right hon. Member must have misunderstood the reply. This is the conclusion of the 1937 programme.

Mr. Gibson

Arising out of the original answer, can the hon. Member say why none of these vessels are to be built on the lower part of the Clyde?