HC Deb 06 July 1960 vol 626 cc430-1
14. Mr. Driberg

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty if he will make a statement on the findings of the court of inquiry into the damage to H.M.S. "Jaguar"; and if he will now estimate the approximate cost of the repairs.

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

The Board of Inquiry found that shot blast grit was present in the lubricating oil system of the main engine which failed. The grit was, or had been, present in the main engines, probably before the acceptance trials. There is no question of sabotage

The detailed investigations in hand have not yet produced enough evidence to enable us to define the exact scope of the repair work required. Any estimate quoted at the present time would therefore be unreliable.

Mr. Driberg

How soon will the Civil Lord be able to give an estimate? If he cannot give it by next Wednesday, which will be the last occasion on which he will be answering Questions before the Summer Recess, will he make a statement before the House rises, since a good deal of public money seems to have been wasted?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I am certainly prepared to promote or encourage a Question at the right moment. I do not expect that it will be very long. As the hon. Member will know, we have to take the engine down and meticulously examine every part of it, and that is a long process, before we can assess exactly what has to be done. In the meantime, this ship has been replaced by another ship in her class.

Mr. Steele

At what stage did this grit get into the oil? Can the hon. Gentleman give any indication of when it happened?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I cannot go much further than I did in the original Answer. It very probably got in before the acceptance trials. We have not been able to pinpoint it more closely at present.

Mr. Steele

I understand, therefore, that the inquiries have shown that it was "probably" before the trials?