HC Deb 25 November 1959 vol 614 cc348-9
21. Mr. Wall

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty when it is expected that H.M.S. "Dreadnought" will be launched; and when she will be commissioned.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing)

It is not the practice to disclose the dates of launching or commissioning of Her Majesty's ships before they have been firmly settled.

Mr. Wall

Will my hon. Friend the Civil Lord bear in mind the desirability of giving adequate notice of this important event?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

As this will be the first British ship of this revolutionary type, and many very great engineering problems are involved, it would be unwise to forecast at this stage, but my noble Friend and myself will certainly try to give advance warning of this important date.

22. Mr. Wall

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty when a sister ship to H.M.S. "Dreadnought" will be laid down; and when it is proposed to start the construction of a missile-carrying submarine.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

In an effort to give the House and the country a greater amount of information, we have recently announced when the keels of some new surface ships have been laid down. I think it would he most unwise to go any further in announcing future plans. However, I can say that work is proceeding at Dounreay on nuclear submarine prototype machinery.

Mr. Wall

As my hon. Friend has already pointed out the importance of this new type of vessel, would not he agree that, in order to gain adequate operational experience, a sister ship should be laid down as soon as possible? Would not he also agree that the misslecarrying submarine may be the best method in future of delivering the deterrent?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I would not like to answer off the cuff the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, which is a matter of very great strategic consequence—and economic consequence as well. But I would certainly agree with the first part of his supplementary question, and we are giving the matter most careful consideration.