§ Mr. H. Macmillan
Belgium adopted the rifle in 1953; the Australian Government announced their intention of doing so last month. I understand that Canada is likely to adopt it when troop trials are completed. New Zealand and South Africa are also taking part in the trials and other countries are showing an interest.
§ Mr. Wyatt
But is not the Minister aware—have not they told him yet?—that the Belgian rifle has been redesigned in inches and so therefore the British one will not be interchangeable in its parts with the Belgian rifle? And as it will not be accepted by Canada or by the United States there will be no standardisation with any country, not even with Belgium and Luxembourg?
§ Mr. Shinwell
The right hon. Gentleman cannot get away with this. Surely he is aware now that there is no question of standardisation in view of the adjustments which have taken place in the rifle? Will he now agree that there is no possibility of standardisation in the foreseeable future?
§ Mr. Macmillan
I answered the Question. It is that some countries have adopted the rifle and other countries are considering it.
§ Mr. Strachey
Would not the Minister agree that the Commonwealth countries which he mentioned were long ago standardised on the British rifle and that if we had adopted it—if the decision had not been reversed—we should now have the rifle in service for our own Army?
§ Mr. Macmillan
That is not a true statement. There can be standardisation and there is a possibility of this rifle being accepted throughout the Commonwealth.