32. Air Commodore Harvey
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence to what extent helicopters are used by our Forces in the Middle East; and how many are available for such purposes.
Air Commodore Harvey
Is this not a deplorable situation which is mainly due to Socialist planning in the last Government? Does my hon. Friend recall that two weeks ago the greatest difficulty was experienced in rescuing an airman who was only 25 miles in the desert? Will not my hon. Friend try to divert at least two helicopters to the Middle East for rescue purposes in an emergency?
§ Mr. Birch
As I told my hon. and gallant Friend the other day, we are taking what steps we can to increase the supply of helicopters. As he knows, the really urgent need for helicopters at the moment is for rescuing wounded in Malaya. I do not think it would be right to divert them from that theatre.
§ Mr. F. Beswick
Is it not a fact that these helicopters have been developed by private firms? Since these private firms are so slow in developing them, could we not see what assistance could be given by State planning?