HC Deb 27 February 1958 vol 583 cc538-40

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Prime Minister if he will arrange for a model of Zero Energy Thermo-nuclear Assembly, and similar models of the latest developments in thermo-nuclear and nuclear energy, which are to be exhibited at Brussels, to be included in the Belle Vue, Manchester, Trade Exhibition; and whether he will ask for the co-operation of those engaged at Trafford Park and Aldermaston, so that a clear explanation can be made to the visitors and broadcasts made to the world.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Ellis Smith.

Mr. W. R. Williams

On a point of order. In view of the importance of the subject matter raised in Question No. 45 and due to the unfortunate fact—which I am sure you, Mr. Speaker, and the House will regret—that my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) is in hospital, will you be good enough to allow me to invite the Prime Minister to indicate at this stage whether he proposes to answer this Question at the end of Question Time?

Mr. Speaker

I am afraid that I cannot influence that matter in any way.

46. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he will ensure that the necessary funds are made available to the Atomic Energy Authority to enable the most rapid possible progress to be made with the further development of Zeta.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

Yes, Sir, subject, of course, to normal considerations of good financial management.

Mr. C. Hughes

While being grateful to the Prime Minister for that assurance, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the fact that there are no considerations of security in this sphere, he can say how much was spent on this great project last year, how much is to be spent this year and how much it is estimated will be spent next year?

The Prime Minister

I would like notice of those details, but I am sure that the matter is not held back by any lack of expenditure. The problems are extremely difficult and complicated. What is remarkable is the progress and skill of those engaged upon this work.

Mr. Mason

Could the Prime Minister say to what extent the Government have applied their mind to the further problem—that of providing the Harwell team with a further forty scientists and engineers to build Zeta II?

The Prime Minister

The Atomic Energy Authority is responsible for the work, and I have no doubt that it will press on with it in every way it can. I do not propose to interfere with the Authority, in whom I have every confidence, and that confidence is more than justified by the progress they have made.

Mr. W. R. Williams

May I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that in answering a similar Question to No. 45 a week or two ago—[Interruption.] I know what I am talking about. Is the Prime Minister aware that the Paymaster-General indicated, in reply to a Question similar to Question No. 45, that the main reason why Zeta should not be exhibited at Belle Vue in July this year was lack of funds? Will he, therefore, try to arrange with the Authority for the right—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We have passed that Question. I regret as much as the hon. Member the absence of his hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), but I cannot allow a supplementary question to be asked concerning a Question we have passed.

Mr. W. R. Williams

With respect, Mr. Speaker, Question No. 46 deals with funds in connection with Zeta. My point is that in replying to a Question similar to Question No. 45—which I am not dealing with—it was the matter of funds that prevented the Authority from conforming to the request of the Belle Vue authorities to have this exhibit in July. I am simply asking why, if there is a lack of funds, the Prime Minister cannot authorise more funds.

Mr. Speaker

I think they are separate Questions. The one we are now dealing with concerns funds for development. The hon. Member is now asking for funds for an exhibition.