HC Deb 12 March 1958 vol 584 cc414-5
40. Mr. Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is satisfied there can be no serious accident resulting from towing hydrogen bombs on public thoroughfares; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

When nuclear weapons are moved by road they are broken down into components, and the special nuclear components are carried separately. Further special precautions are taken, and my right hon. Friend and I are satisfied that there is no risk of a serious accident.

Mr. Allaun

Is the Minister positive that there can he no radioactive contamination following an accident? Was it not only by accident that it leaked out that there were planes patrolling with H-bombs, and has it not now leaked out by accident that these things are being towed along the main roads? What next? Is this secrecy due to the Government knowing that the British people are opposed to increasing risks being taken?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I cannot go into details, but specially trained Service personnel always travel with these weapon components and are capable of dealing with any incidents which may arise. I think the House will agree that it is not in the general interest so to identify these convoys that potential enemies of this country might be able to trace the movement of these weapons.

Mr. Mason

This is a serious matter which is causing some concern. Can the hon. Member develop his reply a little and state what special methods are used for moving these atom bombs? Are they at any time used on British Railways?

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is it not a fact that some hon. Members opposite are considerably more "windy" than those whom they represent?

Mr. de Freitas

The Under-Secretary referred to the security aspect about where these bombs were. Will he therefore insist that, when officers are called into court on cases involving them, they will not say in public that these men are employed on dragging hydrogen bombs to certain definite stations?

Forward to