§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
Rifles produced in the United Kingdom will be made on the same pattern as the Belgian rifle. They will be manufactured to inch drawings, for the reasons stated by the then Minister of Supply on 7th May, 1954.
§ Mr. Wyatt
Since they are to be manufactured on inch drawings and not on metric drawings, is not it clear that the parts will not be interchangeable with the Belgian rifle still manufactured in Belgium, and does not this do away with much of the argument in favour of standardisation advanced a year ago by the Government?
§ Mr. Strachey
Will the Minister explain why this further alteration and modification was effected, because it has undoubtedly caused great delay, and if it enables standardisation in one direction it would clearly prevent it in another? It seems inexplicable.
§ 8. Mr. Chetwynd
asked the Minister of Supply how many Belgian Fabrique Nationale rifles have been procured; and how many have been ordered from Belgium.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say why, if the Belgians are not having to modify their rifle, we are having to modify ours? If the need for this new rifle is so urgent, as was stated over a year ago, why have we not gone ahead with orders there instead of playing about in this country as we have done?
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman read the Government's White Paper on defence? If he has, having regard to its contents, will he tell us what these rifles are likely to be use for?
§ Mr. Strachey
Can the Minister tell us plainly now why the troop trials he has just mentioned were not undertaken immediately this Government came into office, why they have not yet been undertaken, and why production could not have been begun immediately after those troop trials, which should have taken place three years ago?
§ Mr. Callaghan
Has not the real trouble been that the previous Minister was so busy denationalising steel that he shilly-shallied and hesitated in taking decisions for over three years both about rifles and aircraft? Is not the best thing that has happened to the Ministry of Supply since 1951 that the Minister has left it?