HC Deb 30 March 1960 vol 620 cc1324-5
42. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Defence, in view of the fact that the general defence of Great Britain against rockets is practically impossible, if he will now revise his policy of using the missile against a conventional attack.

Mr. Watkinson

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave last week to the hon. Members for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) and Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler).

Mr. Rankin

I take it that that means that the right hon. Gentleman is refusing to revise his policy. Will not he think over the matter again, because, as it is now admitted that there can be no defence of the civil population in the case of a missile attack being launched, is it not sheer madness to say that where a conventional attack is made we will meet it by using the missile?

Mr. Watkinson

It would be sheer madness if with our allies we did not do our utmost to try to stop a war starting. That is the whole purpose of this.

Mr. Strachey

Would not the Minister agree that it is time the disastrous policy put forward in paragraph 12 of his predecessor's White Paper was revised? Until some declaration is made that that policy has in fact been revised, as it

1956 1950 1945 1919 reassessed on account of 1939–45 war service 1919 Pre-1919
Under 60 11,330 5,360 12,260 530 740
Over 60 320 1,250 6,640 4,120 6,080 15
Totals 11,650 6,610 18,900 4,650 6,820 15
Note: No officer is as yet in receipt of retired pay under the 1960 Code which is effective from 1st April, 1960.