HC Deb 26 February 1958 vol 583 cc373-4
56. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Secretary of State for Air the reasons which caused Kirton Lindsey to be chosen as a launching site for United States rockets; what damage will be caused to the amenities of the district by the launching of rockets; what consultations have taken place with representatives of those likely to be affected; who will be in charge of the station; and on whose command rockets will be launched and in what circumstances.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence on Monday.

Mr. Mallalieu

May I be assured that when interference of this sort is undertaken by the hon. Gentleman's Ministry there will be really proper, active, widespread local consultation?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

In matters that are of a secret nature, consultation cannot he as widespread as, I think, the hon. and learned Member suggests; but my right hon. Friend pointed out that the Ministry would have confidential discussions with the planning authorities concerned.

Mr. Fell

Will my hon. Friend tell me whether he thinks it advisable that this sort of Question should be put down on the Order Paper at all? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is well known that it is Government policy not to mention the names of places where these rocket sites are to be, and if a Member of Parliament finds out where one is to be, surely it is common sense that he should not let it be known. Secondly, may I ask how it is that this sort of Question gets past the Table?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I think that that is not a question that I can answer. It is for the Table, and not for me.

Mr. Beswick

Does the hon. Gentleman really think that it is possible for these great, clumsy things to be sited in the flats of East Anglia without any other country being aware of them?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

My right hon. Friend made this point quite clear on Monday, when he said that there was no point in giving away information to the enemy before one needed to, and that we must make the intelligence services of our potential enemies work for their living.

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