HC Deb 30 November 1955 vol 546 c2280
3 and 4. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Minister of Defence (1) in what way the proposed rocket range at South Uist will contribute to our defence;

(2) if, in view of the need for economy and the urgent necessity of restricting capital investment, he will postpone his plans for a rocket range in South Uist.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The range will enable our Service men to get actual experience in firing the guided weapons which are expected to play an increasingly important part in the future defence of this country. I could not agree to any postponement of the plans for this project.

Mr. Hughes

Can the Minister of Defence say in what way a rocket range would be able to stop the dropping of a hydrogen bomb on this country, which is our principal anxiety at the moment? Is he aware that there have been strong criticisms of this range by Air Marshal Sir John Slessor, who says that the cost will be enormous, and does not he think that, in view of the Chancellor's appeal for cutting capital investment at home, there is a good case for re-examining this project?

Mr. Lloyd

No. I think it very important that we should develop these guided weapons, because even hydrogen bombs have to be carried by something and if that something can be destroyed before it reaches our shores that may be very useful in the defence of our country.

Mr. Woodburn

Can the Minister say how much of the money will be spent in South Uist?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot, without notice.

Mr. Hughes

In view of the unsatisfactory Answer, I give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.