HC Deb 12 June 1958 vol 589 c410
46. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that it is widely believed by the military aviation experts in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries that Dr. Barnes Wallis's variable geometry aeroplane promises to be the greatest single technical advancing aeroplanes since the war, whether he will hold an inquiry into the circumstances of the withdrawal of Government backing for its development.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply.

The facts are known and, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply stated to the House on 22nd May, alternative proposals embodying the principle of variable geometry have been invited from the company. Such proposals have been received and are now under consideration. A further inquiry is not therefore necessary.

Mr. de Freitas

Do not the facts disclose that there is a very grave danger that this development, which may be the greatest in aviation since the jet, may have to leave this country unless the Government take a very far-sighted view, which unfortunately at present they do not appear to be doing?

Mr. Butler

I indicated in my answers on Tuesday that it was not the intention of the Government to neglect this remarkable development in science.

Major Legge-Bourke

In view of the wording of the original Question, may I ask if my right hon. Friend will bear in mind that the significance of this conception is quite as important in the civil field as in the military field and that it can be applied to any size of aircraft from the Gnat to the biggest ever thought of?

Mr. Butler

I understand that to be the case.