HC Deb 25 May 1960 vol 624 cc416-8
3. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Air when he expects the British stand-off bomb to be available for the Services.

Mr. W. J. Taylor

I am not prepared to forecast the exact date, but development is well advanced.

Mr. Wyatt

Is the Under-Secretary aware that in the debate on Blue Streak the Minister of Defence justified the cancellation of Blue Streak on the ground that the V-bomber equipped with Blue Steel would be our nuclear deterrent until the mid-1960s? Does the hon. Gentleman not know that it is now well known that Blue Steel, the stand-off bomb, will not be ready until the mid-1960s and so the argument goes completely by the board and we will have no independent nuclear deterrent of any sort?

Mr. Taylor

The hon. Member must have misunderstood what my right hon. Friend said. Blue Steel will play an important part for a worth-while period in maintaining the validity of the deterrent.

Mr. de Freitas

Will the hon. Gentleman look at this matter again? Is it not a fact that the Minister said that Blue Steel would keep the V-bombers as a credible deterrent until the mid-1960s? If it does not come into service until the mid-1960s, what on earth does the Minister mean?

Mr. Taylor

I have already said that there is some misunderstanding of what my right hon. Friend said. Blue Steel will be valid as part of the deterrent during the period named.

Mr. Wyatt

The Minister spoke in the debate of …the bomb now being fitted…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th April, 1960; Vol. 622, c. 242.] but we now know that it will not be ready for five years. Will the hon. Gentleman clear that up?

Mr. Taylor

I have not said that the weapon would not be ready for five years. If the hon. Member has any specific question about the progress and the timing, he should address it to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Willis

That is what my hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) was doing, but the right hon. Gentleman is not here.

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