§ 10. Sir A. V. Harvey
asked the Minister of Supply how many English Electric P.1 fighter aircraft have been ordered; and what additional orders are being placed for the P.1 fighter aircraft.
§ The Minister of Supply (Mr. Aubrey Jones)
I cannot give figures, but I can say that further orders for the P.1 fighter and an order for the trainer version for the Royal Air Force have been authorised and contracts will be negotiated as necessary to ensure continuity of production.
§ Sir A. V. Harvey
Does my right hon. Friend realise that his statement this afternoon will give much satisfaction to the industry, the workers and the Royal Air Force? Will he confirm whether or not the orders to be placed include the weapons to go with them? One is no good without the other?
§ Mr. Mason
Is it not true that the ordering in quantity of this aircraft has been seriously delayed because it has been subject to argument and used as a political shuttlecock between the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Defence? Is not that regrettable? Secondly, is this batch of P.1s to be the final batch of fighter aircraft for the Royal Air Force?
§ Mr. Beswick
Is it not a fact that this represents something of a reversal of policy? Since we are asking the industry to rationalise itself, and since it is impossible for it to rationalise itself unless it knows what the requirements of its State customer will be, can the Minister assure us that his colleagues in the Cabinet know that we cannot turn production in the aircraft industry on and off like a tap? Can we be assured that the industry knows what the Government will require from it?